Today’s my last day of work experience with the Race Online 2012 team. I’m 17 and I truly believe in their work. Probably one of the most important notions I’ll take with me is that my generation has a huge role to play in building a networked nation, particularly by helping people in the 65+ age groups. We, the youth, may not be as pedagogic as our parents or any other adult, but we are most certainly the best at using technology and the most computer-literate because we are born in the computer era and we have bathed in it since our early childhood.
A survey, led by Danny George, from the Intergenerational School, Ohio, has revealed that intergenerational volunteering could enhance quality of life. According to the study, they discovered that intergenerational volunteering reduces stress and enhances the sense of purpose and usefulness. Consequently it would seem that intergenerational volunteering would be beneficial to both the volunteer and the person being helped.
Becoming a digital champion is an easy and wonderful way of helping the elderly or people from socially deprived places. Exploiting the skills we have is of great importance. The vast majority of the young population is computer-literate and can easily help someone use the internet for their own interests. It can be as simple as aiding a friend, a family member such as a grand-mother, or helping out in various places like UK Online centres or libraries.
It might be shocking or surprising that there is such a huge number of people who do not use the internet, but anti-internet motivations or misinformation are real and the only way to understand why, is to help or at least find out locally. We know how wonderful the internet can be and we should share our trust, belief and passion for it. By becoming a digital champion you can help someone find a job or help people who may be lonely by introducing them to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Skype.
“Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him” – Albert Schweitzer.
Whether it’s getting your street, pub, or book club online, we want you to use your local know how to respond to local need and create bespoke campaigns in your local community.
Our ambition is to inspire a million digital champions to get active in their communities.
We see the 8.7 million people who have never used the internet as 8.7 million individuals that on-liners like you can help to support.
Stuffed with handy hints, tips and examples of other great local campaigns, we’ve developed a short guide to help; please take a look and don’t forget to tell us about what you’re up to so we can shout about it and use your story as an inspirational example for others. We want this doc to be a living, breathing sum of your great insights and experiences so please provide your feedback.
Could you or your organisation support older people to learn how to use IT, over a friendly chat and a cuppa tea?
We believe that older age is the very best time to be online and registration is now open for this year’s itea and biscuits Week; run by Age UK and taking place between 19th and 25th September, it’s your opportunity to get involved in events to help older off-liners develop the skills and confidence to get more out of life online.
Last year, around 10,000 older people took part in close to 1,000 itea taster sessions across the UK, enabling them to discover new technology (such as computers and the internet, mobile phones and digital cameras), that’s giving them the chance to stay in touch, have fun, find info and save money online.
Fancy running an itea and biscuits event this year? It can take place anywhere and once you’ve registered, Age UK will provide planning and media guides, learning packs for participants, marketing materials and online promotion. For all the info, please go to http://www.ageuk.org.uk/itea-and-biscuits
Age UK has committed to inspiring and supporting 23,000 digital champions and itea and biscuits is one of the many ways it’s inspiring its network of volunteers, community organisations and supporters to pass on the benefits of being online. To find out more about becoming a digital champion and to join the 100,000 strong network of digital champions, please visit www.go-on.co.uk/champions
In 2008, the UK government saw that markets were failing children living in low income households – many lived with no computer or internet access at home. Without them, children get left behind, achieving an average of two GCSE grades lower than their fellow pupils who are online at home.
The government’s Home Access Programme aimed to do something about this, and ran for one year in England, from January 2010. Households with children eligible for free school meals were able to apply for a grant to buy a computer and internet connectivity, if they didn’t already have them.
Home Access came in well under its £300m budget at £194m and gave computers and internet connectivity to 267,244 low-income homes throughout England. That includes children from more than 90% of England’s primary and secondary schools. For those children living in homes that didn’t already have a computer, home access was brought forward by an average of 2.8 years.
Home Access worked for schoolchildren – samples showed that children in recipient households were 5% more likely to achieve five or more A*- C grade GCSEs than those children receiving free school meals whose home did not receive a Home Access grant (36% versus 31%).
Further measures have shown the gap in educational attainment between those children eligible for free school meals and those who are not has reduced – the internet is levelling the educational playing field.
There were successes at home too – children in recipient households are spending 4.7 hours per week using the computer for learning-related activities, and research also indicates that those children are finding learning to be more interesting. Teachers also report increased ICT skills and confidence amongst pupils with Home Access computers at home.
Adults benefitted too: 78% of parents in recipient households said that the computer and internet access would help them develop new skills. 70% said it would help them find employment.
Home Access cost around £725 per home and the programme cost £44m to administer. While 55% of recipient households already had both a computer and internet at home, 72% of them still felt that their Home Access device was “much better” than their existing computer, so this ‘leakage’ was not without benefit.
The programme had its flaws, but the motivation for its instigation cannot be doubted, especially considering 91% of recipient households have since retained their broadband connection, feeling the internet to be a resource well worth budgeting for.
The market is now much better placed to encourage and enable access to the internet for lower income households, with Race Online 2012 partners supplying refurbished computers for £92 (from Remploy) and broadband currently at just £3.25 per month (from TalkTalk).
We must promote these excellent deals on low cost computers and connectivity while inspiring people not yet sold on the value of the internet to come online and discover its educational, social and financial benefits.
Here’s a blog from TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding explaining more:
The Digital Heroes Awards, which are run in partnership with Citizens Online and supported by Race Online 2012, is the UK’s only scheme to recognise inspirational people who use technology to bring about positive social change.
Each year, people from all over the country apply for a chance to win one of twelve grants of £5,000, as well as a year’s free broadband from TalkTalk to help them make the most of the internet.
The closing date for entries is 4th September and from the nominations we’ll shortlist 36 regional finalists. The public will then vote to select the twelve regional winners. Last year a staggering 140,000 votes were cast and we’re hoping this year will be even bigger.
Our expert judging panel, consisting of TalkTalk Chairman, Charles Dunstone, Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s Digital Champion and Richard Wallace, editor of the Daily Mirror, will choose one overall winner and they will receive a grant of £10,000. All the winners will be honoured at an awards ceremony at the House of Lords, where Martha will also present a special award to the project that most exemplifies the aims of Race Online 2012.
Last year saw entries from some truly inspirational people and projects. Our overall winner was Ben Richardson from The Connection at St Martins in London, a project which uses digital media, such as photography and social networking, to give homeless people a platform to make their voices heard and express themselves creatively. You can read more about Ben and all of our 2010 winners at http://talktalk.co.uk/digitalheroes and watch out for some guest blogs and interviews on here in the coming weeks.
So don’t forget to visit http://talktalk.co.uk/digitalheroes and enter today. You can nominate yourself or someone you think deserves the recognition.
Best of luck and I look forward to meeting a new set of Digital Heroes!
“You don’t stand a chance, love, of getting me on the internet”, said Frank, 66, our taxi driver on the way to our first meeting with Liverpool Vision. “I’m just not interested.”
Frank is one of the 100,000 off-liners in Liverpool and we were on our way to discuss Liverpool’s exciting Race Online 2012 pledge to increase broadband penetration in the City from 40% to 70%.
Liverpool has committed to supporting 25,000 people to take their first steps online through the support of 5,000 local digital champs and already has an incredible range of local organisations and partners signed up. We’ve been talking for a while about how best we can support them to achieve their amazing goal; current cuts in jobs and services in the City mean it’s taken time to get our partnership in place, but Joe Anderson, the leader of the Council and Councillor Jane Corbett, digital champion for the City, have both been excellent champions of our cause and we’re delighted that plans are really taking shape.
This meeting was particularly important, but speaking to Frank reminded us that our biggest barrier is convincing off-liners there’s something in it for them; after his initial scepticism, we discovered that Frank’s a keen football and bowling fan and we explained that by being online he’d be able to watch all the rounds of the Olympic crown green bowling and even pick up the latest footie scores while waiting for his next customer.
Interested but not yet convinced, it was the magic of Skype that really caught Frank’s imagination. Frank has relatives scattered far and wide and we presented Skype as the answer to the difficulties he’s found in maintaining regular contact. To his amazement, we told Frank all about the free support available in his local community to help him take those first steps online and how he could more than pay for a PC with the savings he would make through shopping online in only a year.
Frank exemplified why we want to recruit 5,000 digital champions in Liverpool – family members, friends and neighbours of the 100,000 Franks’ in the City who are able to unlock that door and inspire an off-liner they know to discover all the benefits that the internet can bring. All you need is to find the individual hook that will encourage every off-liner to give the net a go; delighted that we’d found that hook for Frank, we entered the Capital building, home of Liverpool Vision, with a new spring in our step, even more convinced that a fully connected Liverpool is within reach.
As part of its Get IT Together campaign and commitment to inspire 10,000 digital champs, BT has launched two great UK wide digital champion campaigns: the Internet Rangers Awards and Community Connections scheme.
The Community Connections Awards are offering community or charitable groups the chance to win a year’s free broadband!
Last year, 150 community groups won the award, helping them help others discover the wonders of the web; winners included a group called ‘IT for the terrified’, the Prism Youth Project in Bradford and over in Leicestershire, free broadband for Voluntary Action Rutland (VAR) inspired pensioner Davina to start helping other older residents in her village get online. Davina says: “I have seen the difference being IT literate has made to my life and to the lives of the other older residents in Somerby. I am pleased to be able to share what I have learnt with others and to give even more residents access to the world of IT.”
BT’s Internet Rangers are young people spanning the length and breadth of the UK, sharing their digital skills and enthusing and inspiring older people in their communities to go online. The Internet Rangers Awards celebrate these young people and their schools; the winning school will receive a £4,000 cash prize and one lucky Ranger will win £200 in IT vouchers and a new iPad!
Owen is Internet Ranger of the Year for Wales 2010; he’s been working with the Glan Afan Silver Surfers’ for the past year. “I get a great sense of achievement helping”, he says, “especially as they become more confident.” His proudest moment came when one of his ‘students’ used the internet to get help in an emergency. Read more about champs like Owen
- Thursday 15th September at 5.30pm is the closing date for the Community Connections scheme; find out more here
- For more info and to apply for the Internet Rangers Awards, click here; the closing date is 24th October 2011 at 530pm
Race Online 2012′s monthly Highlight Report is a round-up of all our campaign updates; this month’s edition includes the low down on our latest campaign strategies and our older people report ‘Getting ON; a manifesto for older people in a networked nation.
Read our latest highlight report
In its recently launched UK edition, Martha writes for The Huffington Post about why she loves her job as UK digital champion, our progress so far and how digital needs to be placed much higher up the list of strategic priorities for charities.
Half of the UK’s 9.5m social housing tenants have never used the internet.
Yet, technology is the only way to meet the twin imperatives of social housing: landlords can deliver more for less while fulfilling core social commitments to tenants.
The dearth of adequate business case data to properly back up technology adoption within the social housing sector is unacceptable.
Race Online 2012 is keen to tackle this and is looking for Registered Social Landlords to provide information to help us build a robust business case for digital technology use within the social housing sector.
The National Housing Federation is kindly giving Martha Lane Fox stage time at their annual conference in September to discuss this important issue and the findings of the business case. Our thanks also go to Housing Technology magazine for covering the findings, alongside case studies from contributing partners.
If you are a Registered Social Landlord and can contribute to this study, be part of the profile and the volume of its announcement and traction, then please contact email@example.com ASAP.
Even if you are not an RSL but can support by syndicating this call for support then please get in touch!