Posted: 16th October 2017

Older people who have never learned to use the internet will be helped online thanks to a £66,000 grant to Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland.

This grant will help Age UK recruit at least twenty “Digital Champions” to teach 2,000 older people to use communication tools like email, Skype and FaceTime; skills which younger people take for granted.

Digital Champions Project

The Digital Champions project aims to help older people to access online information on everything from benefits to bus timetables. With many services becoming digital by default, people who are not online face more hurdles in their daily lives to access both private and public sector services. There will also be an emphasis on online safety, and protection from viruses and fraud.

The project is supporting older people across  Leicestershire and Rutland with a focus on people in rural areas. It aims to combat loneliness by helping these budding “silver surfers” to keep in touch with family and friends online.

Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland’s Digital Champions will be holding up to four sessions a week across Leicestershire and Rutland. Sessions for groups of around 15 people will be held in libraries, village halls and residential homes. One to one lessons will also be available.

Tony Donovan, Executive Director at Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland said:

“We are very grateful to Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons for their generous grant which will improve the quality of life for thousands of older people. More than four million older people nationally have never used the internet and we need to help them to benefit from all the advantages of a digital world that most of us take for granted.”

Leicestershire and Rutland Freemason, David Hagger said:

“We are very pleased to be able to support Age UK’s Digital Champions. As well as fighting loneliness and depression, getting older people online has great practical benefits. A household without internet access is on average £650 a year worse off.”

About Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland

Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland is an independent, local charity with a national name. The charity raises funds locally to support local older people with information, advice, services and support.

Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland offers a wide range of services for older people with physical frailty, impaired mobility, mental health issues such as dementia and learning disabilities and for those who are at risk of social isolation, loneliness, fuel poverty or financial abuse. Many services are free at the point of delivery.