Thursday 20 June 2019

Awards for silver surfing 'Paddies', the pride of Duhallow

Sheila Fitzgerald

The well-known 'Three Paddies' did Duhallow proud last week when they scooped the top prize at the Age Action Silver Surfer Awards held on the campus of Dublin City University.

Paddy Buckley from Banteer and Castlemagner's Paddy McAuliffe and Paddy Tobin brought home the 'Hobbies on the Net' award in recognition of their work documenting local history for the benefit of current and future generations. 

The trio are adept at making short documentary films centred on the memories of older people in their community, the kind that details an individual's life story, and can be shared digitally with the wider community and family members. 

To date they have recorded the life stories of almost 30 older people from across the region. Statistics show that half of Irish people aged between 65 and 74 have never used the internet and its use among those aged over 75 is negligible.

With this in mind,  Age Action organises the Silver Surfer Awards to highlight digital literacy issues amongst older people.

For those older people who do go online, it has the potential to change their lives as the Silver Surfer Awards demonstrate, with people participating in the digital economy, accessing public services, discovering new hobbies and maintaining an active role in their communities. Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action, said: each of the nominees was "an inspiration" to their peers and their communities. 

"They are challenging the stereotype of ageing, showing that there is no barrier you cannot overcome to life-long learning as they have embraced new technologies, new ways to communicate, and combat social exclusion."

He said access to the internet has the potential to transform lives, enabling people to keep in contact with family and old friends, to make new ones, to explore new hobbies and interests, and even empower people to start businesses or use their skills for the benefit of our communities.

"The Silver Surfers have not only transformed their own lives but, in doing so, they have shown that digital literacy is an important element of positive ageing."

DCU President Professor Brian Mac Craith said the awards were a reminder of the "hugely positive" impact the internet can have on the lives of our older citizens. 

"DCU is particularly pleased to host the tenth annual Silver Surfer awards, as they resonate with the values of the Age Friendly University initiative, which was pioneered by DCU and now has more than 50 member universities worldwide," he said.