About Us

Parramatta Computer Pals for Seniors Inc., affectionately known as ParraPals, was established in 2007 to provide a friendly, inclusive and easily accessible environment in which seniors over 55 can learn and develop new technology skills.  ParraPals closed in October 2022 as the result of COVID, falling member and volunteer numbers, and the loss of our Parramatta Club rooms.

ParraPals Using Smartphone and Tablet

ParraPals

Run entirely by volunteers, our club relied on trainers who were all seniors themselves and were patient, understanding and able to ensure each student could learn at a pace they were comfortable with.  When we closed we had more than 100 members ranging in age from 55 up to students in their eighties.

We offered face to face classes in small group, one to one help sessions with our trainers, monthly member meetings and special interest groups and user groups either face to face, or via Zoom.  We also organised field trips and social lunches.

Our membership of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) linked us to similar clubs across Australia.

ParraPals IT Talk

Our Club

ParraPals was an incorporated, not-for-profit association which was managed by an elected committee. We were run entirely by volunteer seniors and, despite having no paid staff, we prided ourselves on offering services of the highest standard. To book classes, students joined our club for a small joining fee plus an annual fee which helped cover the cost of our insurance and ensured we could keep our course costs as low as possible.

ParraPals Student Completing Course

Our Courses

ParraPals offered personal, one to one help with an experienced volunteer trainer.  Our trainers assisted students to use a wide variety of technology, including Android and Apple phones and tablets and Windows and Apple computers.  We also helped with using social media such as Facebook and with apps and software such as Microsoft Office.

We also offered user groups and special interest groups that met monthly, either face to face or via Zoom.

Our Training Venues

When we closed we were using The Granville Centre at Memorial Road, Granville for meetings and some courses.   This venue is wheelchair-accessible.   Our Parramatta venue was no longer available for training.

ParraPals Training Room

Our Trainers

Our courses were run entirely by volunteers who were seniors themselves. We taught using language learners could understand and at a pace they felt comfortable with. Our trainers were retired and came 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 testifieds to the level of expertise that could be gained through attending our courses!

Most courses had a trainer and at least one assistant trainer to ensure each student received the personalised attention they needed. Our volunteer trainers and assistant trainers were passionate about sharing their skills and watching their students gain in confidence as they mastered the skills to use technology in new ways.

ParraPals Smartphone and Android Tablet

Our Students

When we closed our club had over 100 members ranging in age from 55 (our youngsters!) through to students well into their 80s. We catered to local residents from Parramatta and Cumberland local government areas and also welcomed any seniors able to travel to our easily accessible locations. Some of our students were experiencing computer technology for the first time and were keen to develop the skills they needed to operate their device, communicate with loved ones, use the internet and view and save photos. Others had a little more experience and were looking to expand their knowledge, put their device to greater use or learn to use specific software programs, apps and online resources.

Our Students at ParraPals
Members doing Other Activities

Other Activities

In addition to our courses, ParraPals ran a variety of other activities such as excursions and social lunches throughout the year which enabled members to share their experiences, learn new skills or simply enjoy socialising.

ParraPals Monthly Meeting

Monthly Meetings

Our monthly member meetings were held on the third Friday of each month.  During COVID  we met via Zoom, and as COVID restrictions eased we resumed face to face meetings at Granville.  These meetings were a chance to catch up with the latest club news and listen to speakers who covered a variety of interesting topics relevant to seniors and technology.

Social Outing

Field Trips

Field trips were 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 Social Events

Social Events

ParraPals organised a variety of social events throughout the year including lunches, picnics, theatre excursions and our annual Christmas party. These events gave members the opportunity to socialise and get to know each other better in a relaxed and friendly environment. Our last formal social event will be our Christmas Party on 14th December 2022.

Our History

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.

At our peak we had over 200 financial members supported by a dedicated team of volunteers.  Members volunteered 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 was entirely funded by its membership and course fees. There were no paid staff.

ParraPals was a member of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.

ParraPals Trainers

Our Management Committee

ParraPals’ current Management Committee (2021 – 2022)  will continue to administer the Club during the closing down process:

President: Deb Neyle
Vice President: Brian Deacon
Secretary: Deborah Martin
Treasurer: Colleen Burns
Training Co-ordinator: Hazel Labka
Member: Nikki Miani
Member: John Hain
Member: Lana Crotty
ParraPals Management Committee

Join a computer club for seniors today and discover the world of fun, entertainment, convenience and communication that technology can bring to your life.