ongo has teamed up with North Lindsey College to offer students the chance to share their IT skills with people who have never used the internet before.
Students studying towards a diploma in IT are volunteering their time and joining ongo’s army of digital volunteers to help people of all ages to get online and learn how to use the internet safely.
Since April 2014, ongo in partnership North Lincolnshire Council has encouraged over 160 people to become more digitally savvy thanks to free drop in sessions around the region.
So far over 600 hours has been spent teaching local people how to get online, send emails, use social media and access vital information online to help them in their daily lives.
A number of North Lindsey College students have agreed to become digital volunteers and have started their induction this week.
Shaun Allen, 17, said: “You hear about lots of older people struggling to get online and I wanted to help. When the college said ongo were looking for volunteers I thought it was something good to get involved in.
Sam Howard, 21, agreed, saying: “It’s good to share knowledge and see people benefiting from it.”
Margaret Smith, 76, has been coming to the taster sessions for three weeks now and thinks it’s a great idea for the students to be involved: “It’s great for youngsters to come along, they really do know their stuff and have lots of patience with us. I was frightened of using the internet, but I know I needed to move with the times, so I came along to the free sessions and I’m not frightened anymore. I’m online shopping, sending emails to friends in New Zealand and feel like I’m achieving something now.”
Chris Baker, Community Investment Co-ordinator for ongo, said: “Since April we’ve seen the internet taster sessions grow and grow so we’re always on the lookout for more digital volunteers and working with IT students from North Lindsey College just makes sense. The students get to gain valuable volunteering experience to add to their CV’s and the people who are coming to the sessions get to learn from IT experts.
“It tends to be older people who come along to the taster sessions, so having student volunteers is also helping to bridge the generation gap proving young people and older people can work together and learn from each other.”
Councillor Neil Poole, cabinet member for Policy and Resources at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “It is great to see North Lindsey College students get on board. Young people are the experts these days, being up on all the latest technology, so they are great ambassadors for the initiative. The internet taster sessions are helping many people get online and reap the benefits of the Internet.
The sessions are held in the following places:
Day Place Time
Monday Scunthorpe Age Uk 10am–noon
Tuesday Broughton Library 10am–noon
Wednesday Ashby Link 1–3pm
Thursday Brigg Library 1.30–3.30pm
Friday Goxhill Greenfields 10am–noon
No appointment necessary; people are encouraged to drop in.