Digital Champions

Help us help people to get online!

The internet has become part of everyday life for many people – whether it’s for working from home, job-hunting, online shopping, paying bills, downloading entertainment or interactive learning.

But did you know that as many as 76,000 people in Cambridgeshire do not use the Internet? This could be because people don’t know about the benefits that it can bring or lack confidence in using new technologies.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire project aims to ensure that all Cambridgeshire and Peterborough communities, including the most remote areas, have access to digital services.

This will transform the way residents can access the services they need without having to travel far, helping to improve lives and save them time and money.

What is a Connecting Cambridgeshire Digital Champion?

A digital champion can be many things and the role will change from person to person, but they all have one common aim – to get people online and experience the benefits that the internet can bring. You don’t have to be an expert to help get someone online. All you need is:

  • Basic computer skills that you are able to share
  • Confidence using the Internet
  • Enthusiasm about the things that it can do
  • The patience to support people, businesses or local organisations who are learning something new

What can I do to help?

There are many things that you can do and it is really up to you –  it can be as simple as giving an hour of your time to someone you know to help them take their first steps to using the internet. Capture their interest by showing them sites related to their interests, whether it is cooking, gardening or a hobby they enjoy.

You can help people to:

  • Find work and improve their skills – 7 million job ads appeared online last year. You now need computer skills for 90% of new jobs and good computer skills can increase your earnings by 25%.
  • Find information – Government services are moving online, you can pay your council tax, report a problem and access a service without any queues.
  • Save money – households can save up to £560 per year shopping and paying bills online.
  • Keep in touch – no need to feel lonely when you can get connected to family and friends.
  • Have fun – watch TV, listen to the radio, download music and store photographs, there is so much entertainment available through the web.

You can:

  • Inspire people who don’t know about the benefits of the Internet to give it a try
  • Help  point people to free Internet training or help them with an online course
  • Help people get set up with IT including telling them about accessibility features
  • Donate spare IT equipment
  • Work with local businesses and community organisations to inspire them to use the Internet more effectively
  • Gain new skills yourself to build your own capacity to help others even more

Helpful resources

Online IT courses and useful learning materials
Learn My Way – this is our preferred resource and it takes learners on a journey from basic skills through to shopping online and online banking. Learners can also ‘jump in’ to modules that interest them if they don’t want to do the whole journey.

Go ON UK
There is a range of useful materials available that form part of the Go ON national campaign. It is definitely worth keeping an eye on their website for news and information. We have provided links to the Go On website and a session planner which you might find helpful when thinking about how you are going to work with an individual or a group of people.

Digital Unite
Digital Unite organise national events such as Spring Online that encourage people to use computers. They have a huge range of really useful How To guides and free learning resources on their site. They also deliver a range of training programmes supporting digital inclusion.

Digital Skills.com
This website was conceived and created by Go ON UK, the UK’s digital skills alliance. It aims to help make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation by scouring the web for great resources for teaching digital skills. Locating digitsal resources and real support has never been easier.

BT Digital Champions
This site encourages young people to spend an hour passing on IT skills to people in their community. The resources section might give you some ideas.

BBC Webwise – a useful site with information courses, tips and user guides. You might find the jargon buster really helpful. (You will need Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer to use the courses.)

Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you

If you are interested in helping others to use the internet or have a story about how you have helped others then please let us know.  If we know who you are we can keep you updated on the progress of the project and also point you to helpful sites and guides as they become available.

Please email us at connecting.cambridgeshire@cambridgeshire.gov.uk