World Cup Hero Sir Geoff Hurst: 'Seniors should embrace technology'

England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst is inspiring his generation to tackle technology head-on and learn to make the most of the digital world. 

Geoff Hurst addresses small room of people, with AbilityNet banner in background

Alongside BT Group, AbilityNet has teamed up with the 82-year-old to surprise a senior walking football team, Bristol City FC, with a digital skills session, followed by a friendly kickabout.

The power of learning as a team

Sir Geoff participated in a session run by an AbilityNet trainer and supported by BT Group volunteers, showcasing how technology can enhance teamwork and streamline organisational tasks. 

Sir Geoff Hurst and AbilityNet's Rob McLeanJos Dennis, 68, from Bristol City FC walking football team said: "Keeping up with technology can be daunting and I've often struggled with knowing where to turn to for help. 

“The digital skills session we attended with BT Group and AbilityNet was hugely valuable. Not only did I learn how to protect myself online, I also discovered how helpful it is to learn as a team and to share our experiences.”

"It was great to see participants understanding that they weren't alone," said AbilityNet's Rob McLean (pictured, with Sir Geoff Hurst) of the digital skills session.

Learn more about the session and Sir Geoff's campaign to encourage older people to embrace tech:

AbilityNet, in partnership with BT Group logoFree webinar: How to get help with your digital devices
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Join online on Thursday 6 June 2024 between 1pm - 2pm BST to learn how technology can provide a helping hand to disabled people and older people.

Taking place during Volunteers' Week 2024 (3 - 9 June), in this lunchtime learning session, expert speakers from AbilityNet will be joined by guests from BT Group to highlight how we can help with your tech queries and provide 121 support.

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Quarter of older people receive multiple scam calls each week

The digital skills session took place as part of AbilityNet and BT Group’s goal to help reduce the UK’s digital divide. 

Recent research by BT Group reveals that almost a third of over 65s (27%) are not confident with tech, and over half (57%) feel like technology is passing them by. The research also reveals that a quarter of over 65s receive multiple scam calls, emails or texts a week, with those aged 55-64 encountering more scams than any other age group. *

Sir Geoff Hurst said: “You can understand why a lot of people of my generation are fed-up with being talked down to about technology.

Geoff Hurst and Bristol Walking football team stand in a group“We need to learn digital skills in a way that’s empowering, not belittling. That’s why this session from BT Group and AbilityNet with Bristol City FC’s senior walking football team around online scams was so valuable.

"I still receive scam emails almost every day, which can be worrying, and I know many older people feel the same.

“I use tech on a daily basis - it makes life so much easier - but I don’t need to know about TikTok dances or the latest trends. Like a lot of people my age, I need it for the basics.”  

Don't patronise me

The research by BT Group also revealed that older people are sick of being patronised over tech. 

When trying to learn new tech from someone, nearly a quarter (24%) of over 65s have felt worried about appearing stupid.  

The same number reported having their confidence knocked by the person getting frustrated or impatient with them. 

Geoff Hurst talks to an older lady using a digital device and a younger female BT volunteer

The BT Group research uncovered that despite challenges, a range of positive insights from tech adoption among older people.

Nearly half (45%) of over 65s have discovered new hobbies or interests online and 59% reported feeling more connected to family members. 

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, said: “Tech has become so entwined in our daily lives and how we communicate, work, and connect with the world around us. Older generations shouldn’t feel left behind, especially since having basic digital skills can offer so much independence.

“We are thrilled to team up with World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst to inspire more seniors to participate in our digital skills sessions in partnership with AbilityNet. These sessions are part of BT Group’s purpose, We Connect for Good, which aims to tackle the UK's digital divide by empowering people with the knowledge, resources and confidence to live life in the digital world.”

Free tech help for over 65s

If you are over 65, or if you know someone who is over 65 who would like to receive free, in-person or online digital skills advice, we're offering training sessions in locations across the UK including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London.

You can choose to set up or attend a group workshop or request a 1:1 session in your home.

Sessions are tailored to individual needs, and cover topics such as using a smartphone, staying safer online or getting to grips with the internet.

Additionally people over 65 from anywhere in the UK can join our free online webinar on Thursday 6 June to find out how to get free digital skills support.

Learn more about scams

We've gathered together a selection of our free resources about how to boost your digital skills in older age, including advice about using apps such as the RingGo parking app, making video calls, and identifying and avoiding online scams. Access the resources:

Free resources: digital skills for seniors

*All research is from an Opinium poll of 2,000 adults carried out on behalf of BT Group in April 2024. 

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