Libraries to offer computer training to tackle digital exclusion

Digital skills courses, workshops and drop-ins are being staged for adults in their local libraries after Croydon Council was successful in securing grant funding.

Wired in: contact your local library for details of where and when the digital inclusion courses are taking place

Croydon’s library service has been awarded funding from Arts Council England.

The funding will go towards the costs of a three-year programme to help older members of our communities to become more comfortable with using computers, tablets and mobile phones.

“It has been designed to empower residents, to help them keep safe online and reduce feelings of isolation,” the council says.

The Connect Up Croydon Digital Inclusion programme will be targeted at vulnerable adults, such as older people, disabled people, the unemployed, anyone homebound and people who have English as a second language.

The programme has built-in flexibility to respond to the needs of participants, with help to safely access essential services which are only available online, such as benefits, and how to get started, such as by setting up an email address or downloading an app.

The programme will be run by ClearCommunityWeb, a social enterprise experienced at working with people who don’t have access to digital technology. They will train library staff and volunteers so they can build up an ongoing programme to help deliver digital support across all Croydon’s network of libraries, which already offer free WiFi and access to the internet on library PCs.

The programme will help residents learn how to access online services and connect with family members and their wider community. Demonstrations can be given on desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets and other online platforms residents want to access.

There will be opportunities for fun and creativity with workshops and accessing the libraries’ online offer, including free e-books and audiobooks. Participants will also be shown how to access information and book tickets for events.

Caspar Kennerdale, from ClearCommunityWeb, said: “Exclusion from services, support and learning opportunities, can affect both the mental health and cost of living for Croydon residents.

“Our community-based and person-centred approach helps break down barriers, builds trust and provides access to new learning.”

The council’s propaganda department has omitted to provide any detail of how residents might sign up for these important courses. Inside Croydon suggests the public make enquiries at their local libraries (addresses and opening times available, inevitably, online, by clicking here), if you can visit the library on those occasions when it is open…

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