Cllr Angela Picknell of St Mary’s Ward. Photograph: Islington Council

A pensioners’ forum in Islington has won nearly £700 in council funding to teach older residents how to use computers and smart phones.

It comes as Islington Council agreed £46,000 in funding grants for local initiatives at Tuesday’s meeting of its Voluntary and Community Sector Committee.

The Islington Pensioners’ Forum will receive £694.44 from the council’s Local Initiatives Fund (LIF) on top of its £500 budget to pay for the £1,200 project to make over-60s tech-savvy.

The weekly computer and smart phone classes cater for 65 pensioners from across Islington over 20 weeks of classes, with ten or 12 people attending each class in a hall at Providence Court.

The grant money will pay for running costs, refreshments and publicising the classes.

Cllr Angela Picknell, a Labour councillor for St Mary’s ward, told the Islington Citizen the classes would help older people use council services which have moved online and keep in touch with friends and family.

“The Pensioners’ Forum does so much great work for older local people and we were delighted to support the weekly computer and smart phone classes”, she said.

“More and more important services are going online, so it’s really important that we help local people to use technology to be able to access them.

“The internet and smart phones are also a great way for people to keep in touch with friends and family, helping to tackle loneliness, which we know is a real problem.”

She added: “As a local team, we use our LIF grants to help make St Mary’s ward a fairer and better place for people to live, and this award will help us to do that.”

The £46,000 agreed in Tuesday’s meeting leaves £195,453 of LIF money left to be awarded in 2018/19.

The fund was set up by Islington Council in 2011 to “strengthen the role of ward councillors” by supporting local initiatives.

It has an annual budget of more than £200,000 and breaks down as around £14,000 for each of Islington’s 16 wards.