Run entirely by volunteers, our club relies on trainers who are all seniors themselves and are patient, understanding and able to ensure each student can learn at a pace they are comfortable with. We have more than 150 members ranging in age from 55 up to students in their eighties.
We offer a variety of courses, in groups of no more than four students, that run anywhere from single, two-hour sessions through to longer courses that consist of weekly sessions run over a three-week period. When not in lockdown, our classes are offered as either morning or afternoon sessions, Mondays to Fridays during school terms above the Parramatta Library. Our membership of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) links us to similar clubs across Australia.
During the COVID-19 lockdown we are offering some courses, meetings and one to one help sessions via Zoom.
ParraPals is an incorporated, not-for-profit association which is managed by an elected committee. We’re run entirely by volunteer seniors and, despite having no paid staff, we pride ourselves on offering services of the highest standard. To book classes, students must first join our club for a small joining fee plus an annual fee which helps cover the cost of our insurance and ensures we can keep our course costs as low as possible. Learn more about joining ParraPals here.
ParraPals offers a wide range of courses suitable for absolute beginners through to more experienced students wishing to expand their knowledge or develop skills in a specific area. Courses are offered around Apple and Windows computers, Apple and Android smart phones and tablets as well as specific applications and social media. We even offer courses for people who have had limited exposure to technology and are unsure of which device would suit them best. If you are willing to learn, we have a course that’s right for you! All courses include a short tea break during which students can get to know each other better and share their experiences. Learn more about our courses here.
Located above the Parramatta Library, our training room is wheelchair-accessible and accommodates small groups of four students and one trainer, as well as an assistant trainer. We are equipped with both Windows computers and Apple Mac laptops for students to use and we also have a high-quality scanner for students wishing to learn how to scan old photos, slides, negatives and documents. A smart TV with a large screen allows students to easily follow the trainer’s instructions and we also cater for students dealing with vision and hearing deterioration. During COVID-19 lockdown our Club Training room is closed.
Our courses are run entirely by volunteers who are seniors themselves. We teach using language you can understand and at a pace you feel comfortable with. Our trainers are retired and come from a wide range of backgrounds including public service, teaching, nursing, telecommunications and the private sector. A couple of our trainers started out as ParraPals students which testifies to the level of expertise that can be gained through attending our courses!
Most courses have a trainer and at least one assistant trainer to ensure each student receives the personalised attention they need. Our volunteer trainers and assistant trainers are passionate about sharing their skills and watching their students gain in confidence as they master the skills to use technology in new ways.
We’re always on the lookout for more volunteer trainers. If you have some skills to offer and would like to get involved, we encourage you to contact our Club President to discuss opportunities. All trainers are members of the club and full trainer support is provided. You can plan your volunteer involvement to fit in around your other commitments such as appointments, grandparent duties and travel.
Our club has over 150 members ranging in age from 55 (our youngsters!) through to students well into their 80s. Located in Parramatta’s CBD, we cater to local residents and also welcome any seniors able to travel to our easily accessible location. Some of our students are experiencing computer technology for the first time and are keen to develop the skills they need to operate their device, communicate with loved ones, use the internet and view and save photos. Others have had a little more experience and are looking to expand their knowledge, put their device to greater use or learn to use specific software programs, apps and online resources. If you have any queries at all about joining our club or which of our courses would best suit you, we encourage you to get in touch with us here.
In addition to our courses, ParraPals runs a variety of other activities such as excursions and social lunches throughout the year which enable members to share their experiences, learn new skills or simply enjoy socialising.
Our monthly member meetings are held on the third Friday of each month. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are holding meetings via Zoom and all Club members receive an email invitation to the meeting. (When it is safe to do so we will resume face to face meetings and the venue will be notified to members). These meetings are a chance to catch up with the latest club news and listen to speakers who cover a variety of interesting topics relevant to seniors and technology. Zoom meetings are free. Dates and times for our monthly meetings can sometimes vary, so please check the latest newsletter for details.
Field trips are organised throughout the year to a variety of destinations relevant to our Special Interest Groups. Past trips have included the World Press Photo Exhibition, Police and Justice Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Cockatoo Island and Elizabeth Farm.
ParraPals organises a variety of social events throughout the year including lunches, theatre excursions and our annual Christmas party. These events give members the opportunity to socialise and get to know each other better in a relaxed and friendly environment. Check our current newsletter here for details of the latest upcoming social events.
During the pandemic we have held monthly social picnics in local parks when lockdown restrictions permit us to do so.
Parramatta Computer Pals for Seniors was established in 2007. During the early days, our steering committee received great support from Parramatta City Council, the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) and other computer clubs in the area. Initially only offering training one day per week, over time we built up our membership and invested in more equipment, gradually expanding our program to five days per week.
Still growing steadily, ParraPals now has over 150 financial members supported by a dedicated team of volunteers. Members volunteer their time as trainers, assistant trainers, office assistants, sitting on the management committee or contributing to administration, catering, supplies, IT maintenance and keeping our website and social media sites up to date.
Over the course of our history, the club has benefited from generous support from the City of Parramatta Council. We have also received a small number of ad-hoc government grants, but otherwise the Club is entirely funded by its membership and course fees. There are no paid staff.
ParraPals is a member of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.