Call for more volunteers to nuture digital talent of the over 60s during Get Online Week
To mark national Get Online Week (2-8 October), Cambridge City Council is making a fresh appeal for volunteers to train as digital champions, to help more over 60s gain confidence with ICT.
Expert training is on offer for volunteers as part of the council’s ‘60+Getting Online’ scheme to equip them with the skills needed to train people who may have had little, or no previous experience, of using a computer or the internet.
Volunteers will learn how to lead groups in the community that will teach participants the basics of how to use a computer, how to go online and how to shop safely on websites.
The digital champion-led sessions are free of charge and focus on practical skills like making the most of price comparison websites, using Skype to contact family and friends, and the principles of social media.
In addition to learning new skills the groups also aim to boost social interaction and support good mental health.
In January, the first four volunteer digital champions completed their training over a period of five weeks and went on to lead groups for over 60s. Since then, seven more digital champions have been trained and four more have applied to take part.
Four sessions have been held each week by the digital champions with the council’s sheltered housing schemes and community centres hosting most of the groups.
Anyone can volunteer to be a digital champion and the groups are open to those aged 60 or over who are resident in Cambridge and would like to develop their technological know-how.
No prior knowledge or experience is necessary to join a group and absolute beginners are welcome. Computers and other devices are provided although participants are welcome to bring their own along too.
The scheme has been funded as part of the council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy, which amongst many other things, aims to support vulnerable older people to access the services they need and to reduce the social isolation that they may experience.
The strategy includes a focus on supporting those who are on low incomes and do not currently have access to the internet.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “This scheme is about building people’s skills and confidence so that they are able to make the most of technology.
“For many people going online is second nature but that is not the case for everyone. We recognise this and that is why we are investing in helping those people who would not otherwise be able to access the huge benefits of the internet, computers or other devices.
“Our Anti-Poverty Strategy is all about tackling exclusion and I hope that more volunteers will step forward to help us build an even more connected and digitally engaged city.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to become a digital champion, finding out more about the scheme, or who is interested in joining a group to learn with others can phone 01223 457199 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The district council for Cambridge.