Free computer training, free access to the Internet, and free support
for senior citizens in Hackney

Start here

We are Hackney Silver Surfers and 52 The Lawns is our main centre. We provide free computer training and free Internet access to everybody over 50 in Hackney. Everything we do is free, informal and very friendly. All you have to do is come along and ring the door bell.

Last year (2013), 302 older learners made 3092 visits to our computer centre. That is very good progress, but we are aiming even higher this year – please help us!

  • Our address is 52 The Lawns, Matthias Road, London, N16 8QD.
  • Our phone number is 020 7254 2183.
  • There is a map in our Contact us section.

What’s on / our program

In this section:
Overview / Current program / Drop-in times / Agewell


  • Internet for Senior Citizens.
    New and returning learners may join our volunteer-led Internet for Senior Citizens on Tuesday afternoons, Thursday mornings and Friday mornings.
  • Drop-in.
    Please read the section on this page: Drop-in days & times.
  • Agewell Social Network.
    The Agewell Social Network also meets at The Lawns. It is a separately-funded project for Hackney residents aged 50 to 64. Please visit the About Agewell Social Network page for more information.
  • Courses run by the Hackney Learning Trust.
    The current course – ‘Computers and Internet for beginners’ – is  full.
    The next course – ‘Staying safe using the Internet’ – will begin Wednesday 9 April, is also full.

Computer centre program.

Monday – usually closed all day.

Tuesday morning – always closed for maintenance.

Tuesday afternoon (2 to 5 pm).

Wednesday morning (10 am to 1 pm).

  • ‘Computers and Internet for beginners’.
    This is a six-week course funded by the Hackney Learning Trust (it’s full).

Wednesday afternoon (2:30 to 5 pm).

Thursday morning (10 am to 12:30 pm).

Thursday afternoon (1 to 4 pm).

  • ‘Computers and Internet for beginners’.
    This is a six-week course funded by the Hackney Learning Trust (it’s full).

Friday morning (10 am to 1 pm).

Friday afternoon (2 to 5 pm).

Drop-in days & times.

‘Drop-in’ means you can come here and do whatever you like, at your own pace. We have a wonderful team of experienced volunteers to help you.

Tuesday afternoon

  • Internet for Senior Citizens, 2 to 5 pm.
  • Everybody aged 50 or over.

Thursday morning

  • Internet for Senior Citizens and Hackney Mobile Seniors, 10 am to 1 pm.
  • Everybody aged 50 or over.

Friday morning

  • Internet for Senior Citizens, 10 am to 1 pm.
  • Everybody aged 50 or over.

Agewell Social Network.

Agewell in Hackney organises special activities for Hackney residents in the pre-retirement age range 50 to 64.

Briefly – Wednesday afternoons are for job seekers, and Friday afternoons are for all Hackney residents aged 50 to 64 (including their carers, partners and best friends).

For more information about Agewell Social Network, please visit the ASN program page.

Learn My Way

About Learn My Way

Learn My Way is an online learning site for all levels – absolute beginner to advanced. It is very popular, so we use it a lot.

Sign in to Learn My Way.

The first thing to do is sign in with your username and password. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry – we will help you.

Here is the link: Sign in to your Learn My Way account

Here is what you can do after signing in …

For beginners

1. Starting Online

Try the ‘Starting Online’ course – aimed at absolute beginners, but people with some experience find it helpful revision.

Four units: ‘Using a keyboard’, ‘Using a mouse’, ‘Using a computer’, ‘Using the Internet’.

When you have finished those four, you will be awarded a certificate which we can print for you.

Here is the link: Starting online

2. Online Basics

The second step for beginners is the ‘Online Basics’ course – learn the basics of the Internet.

Four units: ‘Using email’, ‘Using the Internet safely’, ‘Using online searches’, ‘Public services – the basics’.

When you have finished, you will be awarded another certificate.

NB: ‘Using email’ is not very good, so please don’t spend much time on it.

Here is the link: Online Basics

The next step would be to start ‘Online Plus’ (see below) …

For people who are not beginners

Start the more advanced ‘Online Plus’ course.

Seven units (and another certificate(: ‘Using online forms’, ‘Understanding public services’, ‘Make money work’, ‘Shopping online’, ‘Facebook and socialising online’, ‘Online Banking’, ‘Staying safe online’.

Here is the link: Online Plus

Internet for Senior Citizens

Tuesday afternoon (2 to 5 pm),
Thursday mornings (10 am to 12:15 pm),
Friday mornings (10 am to 1 pm).

Internet for Senior Citizens is a volunteer-led program for everybody aged 50 or over.

We offer general drop-in help, workshops, classes, all kinds of digital activity – all free, of course.

On Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings, we occupy the whole of the computer centre.

On Thursday mornings, we use the teaching area, while the drop-in area is reserved for Hackney Mobile Seniors – helping people who have problems with, or questions about, mobile computing – which includes laptops, smartphones, iPads, tablets, Kindles, and anything else which is portable and works with wifi or 3G.

There are no formalities. Anyone can just turn up at 2 pm on Tuesday, 10 am on Thursday, or 10 am on Friday. For more information, phone 020 7254 2183 (ask for, or leave a message for, Rick), or send an email to

Hackney Mobile Seniors

Have you got a mobile gadget you don’t quite understand?

The Hackney Mobile Seniors team helps people who have problems with, or questions about, mobile computing – which includes laptops, smartphones, iPads, tablets, Kindles, and anything else which is portable and works with wifi or 3G.

Bring your problem (literally) to our computer centre, and the Hackney Mobile Seniors team will do their best to solve it.

When and where.

  • Thursday mornings, 10 am to 12.
  • The front drop-in area of our computer centre: 52 The Lawns, Matthias Rd, N16 8QD.

Digital Dance Party

The next event at Open School East –
Tuesday 6 May, 2 to 5 pm.

Digital Internet music is very popular at our Agewell Social Network computer centre – but there really isn’t enough space to get up and dance. So once a month, we move to Open School East – a place many of us know well – it has everything we need: a good sound system and plenty of leg room.

The music will be exotic and digital, as usual. The DJ will be anyone who has a danceable playlist.

And if the weather is good – we might have a barbecue on the roof.

We are mostly over 50 – but everybody is welcome! Please join us on Tuesday 6 May (2 to 5 pm).

How to get to Open School East.

  • Address: Old Rose Lipman Library, 43 De Beauvoir Rd, N1 5SQ.
    On the corner of De Beauvoir Road and Downham Road (Google map).
  • It’s a few minutes’ walk from Kingsland Road. If you know where the Fire Station is, you know where Downham Road is. The nearest train station is Haggerston.
  • The party will be in the Rin Tin Tin Room, on the first floor.

News and info

Parallel Radio update —
episodes one and two.

Parallel Radio is an intergenerational show interlinking people and positively sharing their collective experiences. The group use their oral histories and knowledge as the foundation for their intergenerational community radio project, which are broadcast on the London-wide station Resonance FM.

Most of the recording takes place at Open School East. Members of Agewell Social Network and Hackney Silver Surfers are prominent in the core group – and there is always room for more people who have something to say.

Episode 1 (broadcast 20 December 2013).

The first episode was the cumination of a short intergenerational radio course. The course theme was music playback as a trigger for conversation and generator for new ideas. Over five weeks the group developed skills in script writing, interviews, vox pop, field recording, sound effects, mixing and editing.

Episode 2 (broadcast 4 April 2014).

In the second episode of Parallel Radio, the group turn their microphones on London; interviewing each other about places that hold a special significance. Taking the listener on an audio walk back and forth in time, we explore the city’s nightclubs, canals, cemeteries and communities. From Heathrow Airport to Abney Park and Kings Cross to Chancery Lane, the show threads together hilarious and heartbreaking stories with the atmospheric sounds of the city.

Listen to the first two episodes.

Other Parallel Radio links.

Improving design in the kitchen for arthritic joints.

A message from Simon Kinneir (Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art) …

Do you enjoy cooking, but stiff joints are making certain tasks difficult?

Would you like to share your experience to improve the kitchen for other people?

We are particularly interested in different traditional and cultural insights.

We are looking to learn from members of Hackney Silver Surfers how we should re-design objects to help people cook and keep their joints healthy.

To do this we want to cook with you in your own kitchen. First we would meet and discuss what you would like to cook. Then two researchers will visit you at home with the ingredients.

Which traditional dishes are hardest to make? How do you cope?

Participants will receive a £40 M&S voucher.

Please do get in touch …

Simon Kinneir
078 1764 8156

NB from Hackney Silver Surfers
We have invited Simon to our Welcome Back from Easter party on Friday 25 April. But if you are interested in helping with the arthritis research, please contact him as soon as possible.

Form filling service for ESA and DLA.

A message from Hackney Law Centre

Hackney Law Centre are delighted to announce that, with the help of students and pro bono staff from BPP Law School, we have now launched a new service to help people fill out their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) forms.

ESA and DLA application forms can prove very difficult to fill out correctly. We want to make sure that any resident in Hackney who is entitled to receive ESA or DLA doesn’t miss out by not completing the form properly.

To access the service, people who live or work in Hackney must call 020 7633 4531 and leave their name and contact telephone number.

A law student from BPP will then call back during office hours to gather more detailed information about their query. If suitable, an appointment may be made for the person seeking help with a HCLC supervised BPP law student volunteering on a Tuesday afternoon. All appointments will be at Dalston CLR James Library.

Benefits update – a free guide.

Rethink ( ) have produced a downloadable 20-page guide to the new benefits system. Here is what they say about it …

“Everything from the bedroom tax to the end of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), crisis loans to Universal Credit seems to be happening in April. As a result, many people on benefits are fearful. Journalists aren’t reporting all the facts. And the public is completely confused about whether these changes are good or bad.

If you need to understand what is happening, either to your benefits or for someone you care about, download our free new benefits pack.

It covers all the changes announced in full so far. And it is in Plain English so that you don’t have to be a lawyer or a benefits expert to get the information you need.”

There are four main sections …

  1. Changes to Housing Benefit – ‘the bedroom tax’.
  2. Council Tax Benefit changes.
  3. Changes to the Social Fund.
  4. Changes to Disability Living Allowance.

You can download it yourself from the Rethink page named ‘Help to get through benefits changes’ – or, if you need help, you can download it at our computer centre.

We will have some example copies for you to read through at the ‘Understanding Benefits online event’ on Wednesday 24 April.

Computer help for disabled people.


  • “AbilityNet exists to change lives of disabled people, to help them achieve everything they can at work, at home or in education. We have a number of high quality specialist services for businesses and others who can pay for our expertise. We also provide a range of free services for people who cannot afford to pay.”
  • URL:

IT Can Help.

  • “IT Can Help is a network of volunteers who are able to offer free local computer assistance to disabled people. We can diagnose and fix most computer related problems; Install and set up hardware, software, internet, email and accessibility settings.”
  • URL:

Aidis Trust.

  • “The Aidis Trust is a charity that provides free, impartial technology advice and support to people with disabilities across the UK. It is our aim to empower people with disabilities, through knowledge of assistive technology, to help them communicate and increase their independence by using technology to help reduce isolation. Our services are offered free of charge to those who receive no statutory support.”
  • URL:

About us

Who we are.

Hackney Silver Surfers is an AgeUK East London project providing free computer training and free Internet access to everybody over 50 in Hackney.

We are a centre of expertise in understanding the impact on older people of rapidly developing new technology, and how older people can learn to use it to their advantage.

Our staff and volunteers are familiar with the whole range of new technology, and are skilled at communicating it to older people to enable them to pick the bits which interest them. That is all we do — continuously since 2003.

What we do.

We offer a range of activities to match the needs of all our service users, whatever their age or circumstances (including the most sceptical). Much of the time we are open for ‘drop-in’, which means you can come along and use our computers for any purpose you have in mind, and also for one-to-one learning with our helpful volunteers. That is how most of our beginners become proficient Internet users.

We have a very strong user base — regular contact with hundreds of older people in Hackney. Since we opened in 2003, more  than 1500 people have used our services. However, our aim is to reach everybody in Hackney who is 50 or over.

Also at The Lawns computer centre.

Our centre at The Lawns is also used by other AgeUK East London projects which are not part of Hackney Silver Surfers, including the Agewell Social Network for Hackney residents aged 50 to 64.

Our privacy policy.

We do not collect personal information, or information about your browsing history on this website.

Contact us

How to contact Hackney Silver Surfers at The Lawns.

  • Address: 52 The Lawns, Matthias Road, London, N16 8QD.
  • Location: The Lawns is a shopping precinct halfway along Matthias Road — on your left if you approach from Newington Green, on your right if coming from Dalston. Look for the shop-front with Age Concern Hackney in the window. The 236 bus (Hackney Wick to Finsbury Park) stops almost outside The Lawns, both directions.
  • Maps: Google map / Street map / Google Streetview (it’s the shopfront next to ‘Bets R Us’).
  • Phone: 020 7254 2183   .
  • Email:   .

We are where the red dot is.

Street map showing location of 52 The Lawns.

Street map showing location of 52 The Lawns.