Funding boost for IT services

A PROJECT which aims to improve older people’s IT skills and access to online services has received a £10,000 funding boost from Northumberland County Council.

The Northumberland Community Development Network (NCDN) has been working in partnership with voluntary organisations across the county in a programme which complements the council’s iNorthumberland initiative to improve broadband access.

The new grant will support a scheme in which NCDN recruits volunteers from a range of background and age groups, in particular elderly people, to volunteer to share their IT skills and knowledge as digital champions.

They will receive training, including carrying out IT health checks and delivering online learning sessions, as well as skills in working with residents.

The project will give people the chance to improve their knowledge in IT-based sessions such as using Skype to keep in touch with relatives and friends, online shopping and safe social networking as well as family history and exploring equipment options to help them stay independent.

Coun Ian Lindley, Executive Member for Adult Care and Well-being, said: “We are determined to develop services which keep our residents active and independent in their communities and want to help them reap the benefits of improved links to the wider community.

“Too many older people are excluded from the benefits of the online society but with the right support, they will have the opportunity to use services which can be of added benefit to them. ”