Help Plymouth to get more online as part of major digital project

Published: Aug 1st, 2013 | Author: Laura Simpson

Get IT Together – Plymouth is well underway and supporting local people to get online. Project Coordinator, Lena Santoro, is keen to encourage people to come along and for organisations to promote the free sessions.

Churches, children’s centres, social clubs, community groups, job clubs, schools, sports associations, businesses and members of the public are being asked to get involved in the Plymouth IT Together project to get thousands more Plymouth people online and open to new opportunities.

The led by Plymouth City Council and has been funded by city partners including BT, Plymouth Community Homes, the Plymouth Health Community and Jobcentre Plus and is being delivered through  Citizens Online.

Around 38,000 city homes are not connected to the internet and as time goes on, people risk getting left behind in terms of opportunities for education, work, access to council and health services.

Lena said: “There’s an enormous amount of good work going on – such as Plymouth SeniorNet – which helps older people, but we are conscious that there are huge swathes of people that never go anywhere near a computer.

“We are looking at where the gaps are and want to hear from organisations that can help us bridge those gaps. Churches, for instance, could help enormously. Congregations are often very sociable and more experienced computer users could help others who are more nervous about finding their way around the internet.”

Councillor Tudor Evans said: “This is an extremely important project for Plymouth. We want to tap into organisations which have the trust of their members, who will be able to inspire them to learn the basics, so that they can go online and start reaping the rewards this brings – whether this is through welfare benefits, job opportunities or saving money.

“We are a co-operative council – we work together to achieve change that will reap rewards for the people of Plymouth and this is a perfect example.”

Under the new welfare reforms, the government is pushing for all potential claimants of the new Universal Credit – which replaces current benefits such as Housing Benefit and Job Seeker’s Allowance – to access the fund online.

Clive Turner, Chief Executive of Plymouth Community Homes said: “This project is about giving our communities practical straight forward support so that they can help themselves. It’s about opening doors to opportunities and helping people get better access to public services as well as benefits.”

To register an interest in getting involved email Lena at lena.santoro@citizensonline.org.uk.

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