Get some bytes with your pint
People can now get online in pubs, cafes, scout huts and even launderettes as a result of the Community Outreach Fund.
155 grants have been awarded, of up to £5,000, to local community organisations to help people get online in places in the community that they feel comfortable – so you can now have a beer while learning about browsers, or do your washing while learning to send an email.
Research shows that lack of motivation is the single biggest reason for people not getting online. The Community Outreach Fund addresses this by helping people to uncover the benefits of the internet that are relevant to their own circumstances. It’s wonderful to see people learning to get online in a familiar, relaxed environment and getting fired up about the internet and all it has to offer them.
Helen Milner, Managing Director of UK online centres exlains: “There are many benefits to being online – 90% of jobs now require IT skills, you’re 25% more likely to get work if you’re online and households can save on average £560 per year by using the internet. The Community Outreach fund will help people to take advantage of these benefits through informal learning at a grassroots level where they feel comfortable.”
One such project is the 1st Keynsham scout group in Somerset. Terry Dove, who will be running the project, says: “We’re delighted to have received this funding from UK online centres to help us set up our outreach project in our community centre. It is used by people aged 6 to 86, and we’ll be offering IT support to families and disabled adults in the area, many of whom can’t get online at home and don’t have the skills to use computers. Our scouts will become Digital Champions, sharing their computer skills with others and providing an intergenerational aspect which will ensure the whole community benefits from the funding. “
Other community organisations to receive awards included the Highwood, a pub in Solihull, Jackie’s café in Wythenshawe, Manchester, Dirty Laundry, a launderette in Lambeth and Sheffield United football club.
The project is co-funded by Nominet Trust and UK online centres, which receives its funding from the government’s Skills Funding Agency. The Community Outreach Fund provides grants of up to £5,000 to help community groups set up new outreach locations to help people get online. Projects will run from September 2011 until March 2012. All will become part of the UK online centres network.