Get Online week runs from the 18th to the 24th October this year. Now in its fifth year, 3,000 events will be held over across the UK. A campaign from UK online centres, its aim is to help tens of thousands of people get online and start using computers and the internet.
So why isn’t everyone online? In 2010, 7 million households in the UK have no internet access, and when adults were asked why they had no internet connection at home most replied that they didn’t need it. Various problems are faced by those who are curious but hesitant about using the internet, including lack of confidence and skills, concerns about security and safety, and the cost of an internet connection. Get Online week aims to increase understanding of the benefits of being online, and to develop people’s self-assurance in venturing online.
As part of Get Online week, the BBC is running the First Click campaign from the 18th to the 22nd October. First Click is a media literacy campaign focusing on people who want to learn more about how to use the internet but need help getting online. The project is the result of a BBC survey which highlighted the number of people over 55 who are not online. An estimated 9.2 million people in the UK have never been online, and 69% of those are aged 55 and over; in partnership with CSV Action, the BBC has decided to do something about it.
And this is where volunteers come in. First Click Beginners’ Computer Courses will be held at local libraries and community centres across the country, and volunteers are needed to support those taking part.
Part of the national volunteering and training charity CSV (Community Service Volunteers), CSV Action promotes active citizenship through the media and provides opportunities for people to get more actively involved in their local communities. They do this through running and supporting campaigns which encourage learning, volunteering and social action.
Although they work with volunteers of all ages, for this project CSV Action is looking for volunteers over 50 so that those being helped will feel at ease among their peers. The campaign will promote safe internet usage and help those that are vulnerable, lonely or isolated feel less so. Volunteers don’t need to be technology experts, but just to feel confident in their ability to use the internet. The BBC will be providing printed guides to help the learners and the volunteers - a willingness to help out and basic internet knowledge are all that volunteers need.
So far a lot of volunteers have come forward from the University of the Third Age, but more are needed in the East Midlands area. CSV Action East Midlands is looking for people to volunteer at First Click sessions in Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Lincoln.
If you are 50 or over, and are based in the East Midlands and willing to volunteer, then contact CSV Action East Midlands for information.
If you would like to set up your event for Get Online week, then you can find out how here.