Silver surfers need better equipment

Avid viewer: Nat Alden, 96, uses the centre to catch up on TV on iPlayer

Avid viewer: Nat Alden, 96, uses the centre to catch up on TV on iPlayer

Manchester's Nicky Alliance Centre has issued a plea to the community for help in replacing old computers which allow 90-year-olds to communicate with family members across the globe.

The day care centre, attended by more than 200 frail and elderly people, requires either £5,000 or donated equipment. The 10 PCs used by its weekly IT club for the past nine years are now the worse for wear.

Mildred Cohen, 91, uses the weekly club to keep in contact with her son and daughter, who both live in California, thus saving on phone bills.

"I also email my grandson, who is studying for a PhD at Berkeley University and my other granddaughter in the Cayman Islands," she explained. "I can't be bothered with Facebook, but I use Hotmail. I don't have a computer at home. My friends do and they get obsessed with them."

Browsing viewing options on the BBC iPlayer, Nat Alden, 96, wished he could "get into computers more". He said the IT club was one of his few opportunities to remain active.

Centre chief executive Michelle Wiseman said the club, run by volunteer Steve Hyams, could expand to several days a week. Devices such as iPads would encourage more members to access technology.

"If anyone could donate computers, it would bring the cost of refurbishment down. We are also looking for large screens to help people with poor sight."

    Last updated: 11:57am, March 9 2012