Northumberland County Council’s iNorthumberland team and the Learning and Skills Service are encouraging village halls and community centres across the county to host computer training sessions for residents to learn basic digital skills.

The Get Digital courses are free and can be delivered by experts in a venue near you.  This hands-on course provides the digital skills needed to get online using a laptop or tablet and are perfect for the absolute beginner.

Attendees can learn how to set up an email account, stay in touch with friends and relatives using Facebook or Skype, shop online safely, search for information and how to spot a scam. There is no such thing as a silly question and trainers will try their best to include requests in the sessions.

There has been positive feedback from people who have attended the course previously, with comments from participants including:

“I do feel more older people would be only too pleased to join in this programme. I was approached by quite a number of friends who said they would have loved to have taken part in the course.”

“The Get Digital course has helped me to develop skills to organise my business. I can now complete spreadsheets and add details onto my iPhone and iPad.”

With many community centres, libraries and organisations having access to superfast broadband, it is the perfect opportunity for people to get involved in their local communities and learn new skills at the same time.

The iNorthumberland team believe’s that having the relevant digital skills is important in ensuring people can more easily access council services, manage their finances more effectively using online banking, get the best deals on utilities, insurance and shopping and improve the efficiency and competitiveness of their business or progress in their chosen career.

This year iNorthumberland is aiming to tackle rural isolation issues through the use of digital, working alongside external partners such as Community Action Northumberland (CAN) and Lloyds Bank.

The iNorthumberland programme is also continuing work on rolling out superfast fibre broadband throughout the county. This is funded by the Department for Culture Media and Sport via BDUK, and Northumberland County Council. Previous roll-outs also received funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Defra’s Rural Community Broadband Fund.

Councillor Nick Oliver, portfolio holder for corporate services said: “The Get Digital course is an excellent opportunity for local people who have previously not had an opportunity to learn digital skills to learn from the experts. Many older residents may feel isolated living in rural parts of Northumberland and learning digital skills might be a great opportunity for them to connect, making a huge difference to their lives.

“I’d encourage any community centres or groups who would like to host a Get Digital course in their local area to get in touch.”

View the video from a Get Digital session at Seahouses Hub here: https://youtu.be/pmOs61b8Jyc

For more information and to sign up to the course (minimum of 8 learners required), call or email Jacquie Hodgson on 01670 622109 or jacquie.hodgson@northumberland.gov.uk

For more information on Superfast Broadband in Northumberland call 01670 626001 email info@inorthumberland.org.uk

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