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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 16:37 GMT
Silver surfers take to café life
Eileen Griffiths
Eileen Griffiths talks to her daughter in South Africa via a webcam
Silver surfers in Swansea are logging on to the internet for the first time after a cyber café opened in their residential home.

The Tŷ Waunarlwydd complex in the city is believed to be the first in Wales with its own dedicated internet café.

Surfers in their eighties and nineties are now logging on to keep in touch with family all over the world.

They were able to persuade Swansea Council to part with a few old computers and contribute funding for fixtures and fittings.

It's a wonderful experience and it opens up a new world to you - its given me a new horizon
Eileen Griffiths

Now the authority is looking at opening internet cafes in its other homes.

One of those behind the venture is 89-year-old Eileen Griffiths who, until this time last year, had never touched a computer.

"I use the internet to keep in touch with my daughter Diane in South Africa and my granddaughter Elizabeth in America," she said.

"I have learned how to send e-mails and that was quite a testing job at my age because there was nothing like that in my youth.

"I was terrified at first - it really frighten the wits out of me and I never thought I would cope.

Ty Waunarlwydd
Some of the residents are taking basic computer courses

"It its either case or sinking or swimming. Since then I have been tinkering about and finding things out for myself."

As well as contacting friends and relatives Mrs Griffiths has been online shopping using just her mouse and says everyone who has the opportunity should learn.

"It's a wonderful experience and it opens up a new world to you. It's given me a new horizon and something more to think about than crosswords and books."

The scheme started when residents were asked what courses they would like provided at the OAP home.

Swansea College stepped in to offer tuition in basic computer skills and because of the demand residents started a campaign to get their own terminals.

The council's principal homes officer John Jenkins has had the cafe named in his honour.

"The residents asked me if we could provide some funding for computer desks and things like that," he said.

"We managed to get some computers that were coming to the end of their lives with the authority and also bought one computer.

"I think there will be a time when all residential homes will have internet cafes.

"If you have relatives across the world it is much nicer to talk to them face-to-face over the webcam than the telephone lines or letters which can take an age."

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