100 'not out' for IT Learner Jim...

We celebrate the birthday of one of POA Learning’s most stalwart learners, James Perry who turns 100 this week.

James first began learning with POA Learning in 2012 and said “When I retired, I had no idea about computers and how they can be used. It didn’t take long for me to realise that without a computer I would be up the creek without a paddle as they are used for so much these days.”

With a lack of general knowledge coupled with being a keen photographer and wanting to learn how to use photo-specific computer programmes to manage and edit his photos, James was directed to POA Learning, “I couldn’t communicate with anybody and it was a strange language, so I decided to do something about it.”

In 2013 POA Learning entered James into the Age UK Internet Champion awards where he was awarded joint-internet Champion and inspired many other Silver Surfers to learn more about IT and encourage them to get online.

Then, in 2014, Jim was invited to St James’s Palace to meet Prince Charles and celebrate five years of Age UK. James thoroughly enjoyed the event. He said that, “Meeting Prince Charles was great. We shook hands and had a little chat. We talked about my responsibilities as Internet Champion with Age UK and we talked about what I did in my free time – if I get any!”

Jim and POA Learning's Bev Nolker meet Prince Charles

At the princely age of 100, Jim is now a dab hand at most things on a computer and through the support of POA Learning continues to thrive in this digital world.

“I wouldn’t be without it now as with age I am getting less mobile and I rely more on the computer and the internet to pay bills and do my shopping. POA Learning are out of this world and nothing is too much trouble.”

With the recent pandemic hitting the UK and leaving many elderly and vulnerable people out in the cold, the experience Jim now has with computers has given him the confidence to take advantage of the new world, and with a little support from POA Learning he is now keeping fit via Zoom. He said “I used to go to a weekly exercise session where we would meet up and have a coffee and keep fit but with the pandemic you can now find me every Tuesday afternoon on Zoom tuning in for my two hours of strenuous exercise.”

James said, “I am so grateful for the help that the Eastchurch POA Learning Centre has given and continues to give me. I was astonished to hear about the loss of funding as no matter how old you are and if you want to know something you have to be taught properly.”

“I truly hope that the government reverses their decision to cancel the Union Learning Fund. I would hate to lose such a valuable learning and social resource.”

As he enters his centenary year, everyone at POA Learning send Jim our love and best wishes, and a final word from Jim on reaching this milestone, “I’m looking forward to being 100 but I don’t want a telegram from the Queen, I’d prefer it if she were to send her wishes via Zoom!.”

James talks about his experiences with POA Learning shortly before his 100th birthday and gives his thoughts about the decision to scrap the Union Learning Fund.