Making a difference: James’ story

Making a difference: James’ story

In January, ACE IT began a community partnership with The Heart of Newhaven, a new community centre based in the old Victoria Primary building in Newhaven. We’ve been there every Wednesday morning and have helped numerous older people with their digital devices.

One person we have helped is James, who is a retired Merchant Navy officer and security guard. Here he is with Outreach Worker Linda!

A man and a woman smiling into the camera in front of a laptop

James noticed that ACE IT was at the Heart while having coffee there one morning and asked if we could support him to gain confidence using his iPhone. The things he wanted to learn included:

  • Using the Lothian Bus app
  • Using his phone’s calendar to remind him of medical appointments
  • Send emails with attachments from his iPhone, and organise his emails into files to make them more manageable
  • Use his iPhone camera for photography, to then share to his PC

Over the course of three months, James attended the Heart of Newhaven for one-to-one coaching with ACE IT. He managed to improve his skills in all the above areas! For example, he can now use the bus app confidently to attend his medical appointments, reducing his dependency on his wife who would have driven him before, and he can use his phone’s calendar to remind him of the appointments. 

He’s managed to organise his emails and learned how to send attachments to friends and family too. Finally, he has taken spontaneous photos using his iPhone of local places of interest as well as of family, and has learned how to enhance these images using apps. He has found this much easier to do than carrying his heavy SLR camera around.

Even though many ACE IT learners come to us with specific goals in mind, like James, they often end up learning extra skills such as how to keep safe online, keyboard shortcuts, accessing YouTube, or optimising device storage.

James said the ACE IT service was “first class and brilliant.” He added: “Coming here [to ACE IT] has helped me a lot.”

Although he had achieved what he’d set out to do initially, James knows he is always welcome back at ACE IT for any further help with digital skills. He’s even offered his new digital photography skills to the local history group he attends at the Heart of Newhaven!

If you are over 50 and need any help with your digital device, give us a call on 0131 667 2053 or email

Do you want to help people like James get to grips with the digital world? Become an ACE IT volunteer! Find out more here.