A group in North Yorkshire have been getting online for the first time this week, thanks to a partnership with the local church and Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY).
RAY has been offering free internet training for anyone struggling to get on the internet since it was successful in securing funding to help those in rural areas where until now access to the internet has been limited at best .
Now it is offering free training for those who feel excluded from the rapidly-changing digital world and among the first groups to take up the offer were locals in the parishes of Easby, Skeeby, Brompton on Swale and Bolton on Swale.
Pictured is a Computer Access session at St Paul's church hall, Brompton on Swale this week, where parishioners have been learning how to Skype, tweet and use email for a wide variety of useful jobs.(Pictures tweeted by Vicar, the Revd Yvonne Callaghan)
The course covers basic skills such as sending email, staying safe online, completing online forms and banking, shopping and job-hunting.
The training will be especially of use to anyone who has received a computer, tablet or even a smartphone as a gift but has never been online before.
James Russell, Digital Inclusion Officer at Rural Action Yorkshire, said, “there is an increasing need for people to get online, whether to keep in touch with friends and family, to access public services, or for work. This need is especially pressing in rural areas, where farmers will soon be expected to carry out all their admin online, and where geographical isolation can make being connected online even more important.”
Anyone wishing to access the training is encouraged to call 0845 313 0270 and ask for James. Rural Action Yorkshire is also looking for community centres, groups and buildings which would be interested in hosting online training sessions for their local community.
“We’re keen to work with local communities to get people online,” added Mr Russell. “While our current funding only runs until the end of March there is potential to extend the project into the future, so even if we can’t deliver training in your community now we hope to be able to do so at a later date.”