TABLET computers are helping elderly residents in Hartlepool explore their pasts and the history of the town.
Queens Meadow Care Home has been working with Equal Arts to teach the residents to use the handheld devices to carry out the research project.
A £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund helped the care home buy the tablet computers and pay for lessons.
Two residents participating in the project are Pauline Buttery, 76, and Brian Williams, 77.
They have been using the devices to research legendary Hartlepool dance hall, the Queen’s Rink.
Converted into a full-time dance hall in 1940, the Rink was popular for almost three decades before it closed in 1968 and eventually demolished in 1972.
The residents have also been looking into their personal history and have begun creating a map of places where residents and lived and worked in the Hartlepool area.
Paul Murray, a digital media artist whose been working with the residents, said: “We’ve been experimenting with different arts and writing apps, Skype, photography apps, digital collage and loads more creative activities.
“More recently, we’ve been mapping people’s lives in Hartlepool. Using the internet, we’ve been able to research where everyone grew up and explore different archives.
“We are now pulling this research together and aiming to make a film or audio recordings of some of the places and stories we uncover.”
Julie Armstrong, home manager at Queens Meadow Care Home, on Stockton Road, said: “Since receiving the grant from the Big Lottery Fund last year, the residents have been getting to grips with the tablet computers.
“The intuitive, easy to use technology has allowed the residents – some of whom have never used a computer – to access a world of information online.
“They have all thoroughly enjoyed researching the history of the area and their own personal history – a project that is ongoing. We are looking forward to seeing what else they find.”