Halton Housing win Spring Online Best Event 2012On Thursday 27 September 2012 six local organisations from across the UK received awards from Esther Rantzen CBE in recognition of their successful Spring Online events held in April which helped others learn about computers and the internet.

The six winning organisations were:

  • Halton Housing Trust - Winner
  • Home Group - Joint Runner Up
  • Starting Point  - Joint Runner Up
  • Wealden Senior Citizens’ Partnership - Highly Commended
  • Wigan and Leigh Housing - Highly Commended
  • DVLA Wales - Special Commendation for Best Event held by Government Department

Digital Unite’s national Spring Online campaign takes place each year and supports hundreds of organisations across the UK to throw open their doors and hold free digital taster events for local older people.

In 2012, between 23 – 27 April, around 2,000 events were held, helping an estimated 30,000 older people and other less confident users to learn about using computers and the internet, many for the first time. Events were held across the UK in a selection of venues including libraries, village halls, the Victoria and Albert Museum and even a fish and chip shop.

Learner stories from the week’s activities include a lady of 100 years who enjoyed using computers and the internet so much at her event she’s asked her son to buy her a laptop and a gentleman recovering from a stroke who was helped to access services such as online banking and shopping making a real difference to his quality of life.

The winning event holders for 2012 were chosen by a panel of external judges based on their originality, enthusiasm and the scope, reach and impact of their event:

  • Halton Housing Trust involved their local primary schools, enlisting Little Diamond Helpers to show the ‘grown ups’ how to send emails to the Queen and how to take a trip down memory lane on Google maps.
  • Home Group ran taster events for their tenants right across the country, transforming their one-to-one computer learning sessions into social occasions complete with a Swing/Big Band theme.
  • Starting Point in Stockport took over their local fish and chip shop to introduce local older people to the wonders of genealogy teaching them how to trace their family trees online.
  • The Wealden Senior Citizens' Partnership worked with Heathfield Community College to bridge the generation gap with students helping older people get to grips with modern technology including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Wigan and Leigh Housing got people on board with new technology by running taster sessions on their mobile bus which they parked at supermarkets, on the local estates and in town centres.
  • The DVLA in Wales teamed up with Swansea City Council to help over 50 people aged between 50 and 80 years with their first experiences of emailing, web browsing, using Skype and shopping online.

As the winner of the Best Event competition Halton Housing Trust will receive two places for nominated team members on Digital Unite’s Digital Champion ITQ and £100 in cash, a total prize value of over £1,200.

Emma Solomon, Managing Director of Digital Unite said: “Many congratulations to Halton Housing Trust for their award success and to all of our event holders, without whom this campaign simply wouldn’t be possible year after year and thousands of people wouldn’t get the help they need to get online. So many of our event holders throw their heart and soul into making their Spring Online event a success and the impact they have through these activities is nothing short of life changing. A huge, heartfelt thank you to all of them.”

Esther Rantzen CBE said: “I am delighted to be part of Digital Unite’s Spring Online Best Event awards this year. Helping older people to learn about computers and the internet is a great way of tackling loneliness. It can help them strengthen their links with the families, pursue hobbies and interests and find new ones, look up information to aid their health and wellbeing and become a more integrated part of modern society. It is also an excellent example of how to integrate people with the resources and support that are available to them on a local level. I commend all of the event holders who took part and Digital Unite for its ongoing efforts with this campaign.”




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