PCPS Annual Report 2017
Category Archives: Club achievementsStatus
PCPS Annual Report 2017
Bloggersunite.org has suggested that bloggers around the world use tomorrow to blog about empowering people with disabilities, and I thought what a good idea.
As you know, Parramatta Computer Pals for Seniors prides itself on being fully “seniors friendly” and one way to do this is to make sure our members and visitors with a disability can use the club facilities.
To this end, we made sure we were located in wheelchair accessible premises – the Council Chambers Building – and you all know this, otherwise our president John Moxon (a wheelchair user for over 40 years now) couldn’t participate.
We also understand about memory loss, confusion, anxiety and occasional seemingly odd behaviour due to strokes or other illnesses. We have established policies and procedures to make sure our trainers and buddies can communicate and work easily with seniors who don’t learn quickly or need to be reminded how to undertake certain activities or computer tasks.
We have resources to show students with vision loss alternative ways to use their computers and enlarge fonts in the various operating systems from XP to Windows 7. We have copies of ASCCA’s publication on Accessible features in Windows, and copies of a publication distributed by the former Royal Blind Society (now Vision Australia).
And just recently, we have purchased a portable wireless transmitter sound system called FrontRow to Go which was built especially for voice – it enables listeners to pick up consonants which they often miss. We encourage all our trainers to use the system in the training room, and we also use it for our monthly meetings. It’s been a great success – worth every cent of the $2090 we paid for it.
It’s great to see that already, 40 members have renewed their membership for the 2010-11 financial year and we expect many more to do so on Friday at our members meeting.
As you know, we (Margaret and John) have recently moved into a popular retirement village at Constitution Hill in Northmead, and we are still getting used to it. It has certainly made a difference to me, with less work to do around the place, but we do miss our back yard at Winston Hills. But we are gradually meeting more people, and what a nice bunch they are. Very friendly.
Yesterday we letterboxed 409 residents – every household except those whose letterbox said “No junk mail”. Now we obviously don’t think we are “junk mail” but we need to be unbiased sometimes, and respectful.
There are a number of our members who live at Constitution Hill, and other residents are, or have been, members of Castle Hill, Holroyd or Epping computer pals. We are not trying to poach their members – they are good friends of ours. And each club is different, running different courses with a different timetable.
For instance Holroyd teaches Publisher, which we haven’t attempted yet. And Castle Hill (The Hills) teaches Corel Draw, which we shall probably never teach. At the moment, we teach open source graphics software – Google’s Picasa 3.6, Microsoft’s Movie Maker, and GIMP (open source software similar to Adobe’s PhotoShop). We don’t teach PhotoShop simply because it is so expensive, and we are well aware of our members’ limited income.
Our Digital Photography Special Interest Group is about to have its second field trip – tomorrow by ferry to Vivid Sydney. Being winter, we don’t expect it to be as popular as our March trip to Circular Quay, but we couldn’t miss the opportunity afforded by this festival of light and sound. We’ll let you know how it goes.
At the club, we don’t give you much time to recover from Christmas and New Year parties – maybe we don’t need it at our age! In January, we always celebrate our club birthday, and this was our third. President John Moxon did the honours at our monthly meeting on 15th January, watched by yours truly as Secretary and special guest Joan Craymer, president of Epping Computer Pals for Seniors and vice president of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.
A number of our members displayed and /or spoke about their creative work during the year – we saw cards, bookmarks, family and travel scrapbooks and a newsletter. We didn’t have our usual Q & A session after the morning tea break because members were too busy chatting and paying for courses for Term 1. As usual, we welcomed a number of new members to the club.
The following Monday, about 30 members met for our quarterly lunch at Cafe 88 at Parramatta Leagues Club. At these events, we talk about anything EXCEPT computing (well, only a little computing).
The week before and after this, members of the committee, trainers and some buddies had some busy times preparing the course notes, attendance sheets, name tags, payments and computer equipment for the new term. It is amazing how much time is put in by club members, all of it voluntary of course.
Classes for the year started last Wednesday and Thursday, with the Monday and Tuesday courses starting this week. Again we have a wide variety of classes, mostly 10 hour courses over five weeks, and a smaller number of 10 week courses, and two short courses on Email Refresher and Skype.
Is it really three years since we took that huge leap of faith to start a Computer Pals club in Parramatta? We’d been meeting and talking about it for months,and had no premises, no computers and no money.
But we did have the support of Parramatta City Council’s Community Capacity Building Team, as well as the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association. Additionally, we had the promise of assistance from three well-established clubs at Castle Hill, Wentworthville and Epping.
So in January 2007, we held a public meeting and attracted 50 seniors. By the end of January, we’d held three meetings, found a storage room for our second hand computers, and Council paid for a room in the Council Chambers Building for us to hold weekly training sessions and a monthly meeting at the Parramatta Heritage Centre.
And the rest is history. We now have 10 modern computers and plenty of other equipment – projectors, printers, a scanner, laminator, screens as well as office furniture. And two rooms – recently re-carpeted – we call our own, although of course they belong to Council.
Check out our website above to see the variety of courses we run, and the discussion topics at our monthly meetings.
All seniors are welcome to our 3rd birthday party on Friday 15th January at 9.30 till 11.30 in the Gwen Logan Room, Level 2, Council Chambers Building. We would also be delighted to see those of you who haven’t seen the club for a while – you would be amazed at how much we’ve changed. We are still the very friendly group of people you met in 2007 or 2008. That certainly hasn’t changed.