Today marks the start of Get Online Week 2017, the UK’s flagship digital skills campaign. Thousands of events in communities across the UK will help some of the 7.4 million people in the UK who use the internet less than once a week, and the 11.5 million without Basic Digital Skills.
The campaign will see events help people get the most from the internet, by encouraging them to Try 1 Thing - use the internet to do just one thing that they usually do offline.
It could be their first online shopping experience or video call with friends or relatives, setting up online banking, booking a GP appointment, claiming benefits, or applying for a job online: anything that they haven’t had the skills or confidence to try before.
In community venues across the UK - libraries, village halls, Jobcentres and more - friendly staff and volunteers will help people to take their next step toward being confident, capable and safe users of the internet.
Starting out on the internet means finding something that you want or need to be able to do. That’s why our campaign this year is asking people to Try 1 Thing. The work of our brilliant Online Centres Network has shown that once people are supported to take the first step, they can be confident enough to try one more thing, and then another, setting them on the path to regular internet usage and all the benefits that this can bring.
One person who has already seen the difference the internet can make to their life is Laura Jenkin from Dinnington, South Yorkshire.
Laura says: “I was struggling to find the right job and needed some help with employability skills - and that’s where Computers Within Reach, my local Online Centre came in. I’m a proud gamer but I still needed help using things like Universal Jobmatch to look for work. They saw that, told me about the classes and I thought, ‘alright, I’ll give that go'.
“I don’t know what I’d have done without it. The internet plays a huge part in everything now. In the old days, you could just look for a job in a newspaper but now all that is online.
“I love my Xbox but this part of the internet is what I need to help me find a job I love.”
Now that her improved digital skills are helping her to change her life, Laura thinks everyone should Try 1 Thing online. She tells us: “I just think everyone should give the internet a go, whatever you want to. Even if you‘re not confident or you’re worried about safety, just try one thing and go from there. I found the help I needed and everyone else can too.”
Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, the charity behind Get Online Week, said: “In today’s world, using Facebook or checking the weather online isn’t enough to make someone a truly digital citizen. Millions of people are still missing out on the huge benefits the internet can offer.
“Campaigns like Get Online Week not only help to raise awareness of digital exclusion, still a huge problem even in 2017, but also reach new people still nervous about doing more online and help them find the support they need to take that next step. We believe in a world where everyone can benefit from digital, and Get Online Week is critical in encouraging thousands of people to explore the internet for the first time.”
Additional support for the campaign comes from Lloyds Banking Group, which is sponsoring Get Online Week for the second year running. Lloyds are leaders in digital inclusion, having trained thousands of their staff as Digital Champions and pledged to help millions of people, businesses and charities improve their digital skills; and their support is vital in addressing digital exclusion across the UK.
Nick Williams, Managing Director of Consumer and Commercial Digital at Lloyds Banking Group says: “Supporting communities to gain essential digital skills is vital to driving social mobility throughout the UK. Campaigns like Get Online Week are a fantastic way for communities to help reduce digital exclusion, helping to raise awareness of the issue and providing a platform for people to develop and improve their digital skills.
"It makes me extremely proud that Lloyds Banking Group is the main sponsor for Get Online Week, for the second year running. This is an example of the great work we are doing in partnership with Good Things Foundation and is an important part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper.”
There are lots of ways you can get involved in Get Online Week. If you - or someone you know - would like help trying one thing new online, you can find an event at www.getonlineweek.com/event. If you’d like to share Get Online Week messages with your own customers, clients or staff, head to www.getonlineweek.com/support for lots of great resources you can use to encourage people to get involved and Try 1 Thing