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.
  • Friday morning workshops and courses.
    Please read the section of this page: Friday morning workshops in August.
  • 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.
    We are recruiting now for the next course.
    Please read the section on this page: Introduction to computers.

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).

  • A course run by the Hackney Learning Trust. Prior enrolment is essential.

Wednesday afternoon (2:30 to 5 pm).

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

Thursday afternoon (1 to 4 pm).

  • A course run by the Hackney Learning Trust. Prior enrolment is essential.

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 great 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 12:30 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.

Introduction to computers

A free course for Hackney residents aged 50 or over.

The enrolment list for this course is now full. It will be repeated in November.

Course details.

This is a Hackney Learning Trust course, designed for older Hackney residents.

  • Six weeks – every Wednesday morning (10 am to 1 pm) and Thursday afternoon (1 to 4 pm).
  • Enrolment session: Wednesday 17 September (10 am).
  • Course ends: Thursday 30 October.
  • Commitment: you should be able to attend all the classes.
  • Venue: Age UK East London computer centre,
    52 The Lawns, Matthias Rd, N16 8QD (close to 236 bus stops).
  • Who can enrol? Hackney residents, aged 50 or over.

How to get on the course list.

  • Please check that you are eligible, and that you will be available on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons from 17 September to 30 October.
  • Then tell us that you are interested as soon as possible – by phone to 020 7254 2183 (please ask to speak to Chitra, and specifically mention that you would like to join the Hackney Learning Trust Computer Course).

Internet for Senior Citizens

Tuesday afternoon (2 to 5 pm),
Thursday mornings (10 am to 12:30 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

Internet for Senior Citizens program.

Tuesday afternoons, 2 to 5 pm.

Open drop-in with volunteer support.

Tuesday afternoons are your best opportunity for one-to-one help from an experienced volunteer. Most learning is individual with volunteer help, but we do have occasional workshops on topics that we know will be popular.

Thursday mornings, 10 am to 12:30 pm.

Open drop-in with volunteer support.

Similar to Tuesday afternoon, but not quite so busy.

Hackney Mobile Seniors (10 am to 12 noon).

This is one of our most popular services: one-to-one volunteer help for your mobile computing problems. We can answer most questions about smartphones, tablets and laptops. We can’t guarantee to solve every problem – but our track record is impressive.

Internet for Senior Citizens Friday mornings, 10 am to 1 pm.

Drop-in, special workshops and courses.

On Friday mornings we combine drop-in help with workshop and short courses for beginners.

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.

Internet Dance Party

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

Streaming Internet music is very popular at our Hackney Silver Surfers 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.

As usual, the music will be mostly West African and Caribbean (we know where to find it on the Internet).

And of course, it’s a great way to learn more about music on the Internet – and how you can get it too.

There will be refreshments! Everybody is welcome!

Please join us on Tuesday 2 September (2 to 5 pm).


  • This is the August event, brought forward because OSE is closed in August.
  • It is also our Hackney Silver Surfers and Agewell Social Network end-of-term party.

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 Tin Tin Room, on the first floor.

News and info

Techy Tea Party Day (9 September).

A message from EE

EE National Techy Tea Party Day, in partnership with Age UK, will be held across EE stores on the 9th September to help the nation get connected.

Our staff will be on hand between 9:30 am and 11 am to show you how technology can help you stay in touch with friends and family, make the most of hobbies and interests like travel and access important services like utility companies without having to waste time on the phone.

You’ll get to spend time with a member of the team who’ll answer questions without using jargon and help to build your confidence with technology.

You can bring any of your own phones, laptops or equipment that you’d like to learn more about, and we’ll bring the tea and biscuits.

NB from Hackney Silver Surfers

  • We are not involved in the organisation of this event, so we can’t answer any questions about it.
  • Our nearest EE store is 16A Kingsland Shopping Centre, Dalston, E8 2LX (phone 020 7249 1020).

Saturday afternoon Parallel Radio returns,
13 September, 2 to 4 pm.

One of the most successful projects that we are involved with at Open School East is called ‘Parallel Radio’. We make one-hour talk programs which are broadcast on Resonance FM and then placed on the Internet for anyone to catch up with later.

This is Internet radio!

It’s cheap, requires no licences, easy to do – and available to everybody on the planet who can access the Internet. Internet talk radio is the most accessible form of digital technology – the only skill required is the ability to talk.

Your invitation to join us

Would you like to join us on Saturday 13 September (2 to 4 pm)? We hope so – because we would like to add your voice to our radio show.

If you can talk – about anything – you have what we need, because your voice is valuable. There are people out there who want to hear about your experiences, your values, what you have seen and done, what you know.

How to get to Open School East.

  • Address: Old Rose Lipman Library, 43 De Beauvoir Rd, N1 5SQ.
    OSE is on the De Beauvoir Estate – in the old Rose Lipman Library – on the corner of De Beauvoir Road and Downham Road. The nearest train station is Haggerston (Google map).
  • It’s a short walk from Kingsland Road. If you know where the Fire Station is, you know where Downham Road is.
  • The Parallel Radio group meets in the Tin Tin Room, on the first floor (there is a lift for people who don’t like stairs).

More information

If you would like to know more, please send an email to

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.