Two new classes to help residents develop their computer and internet skills have been launched in Mansfield, thanks to Nottinghamshire Digital Champion, Milly Alonso.

The weekly sessions are being held every Wednesday at the community centres of two of Mansfield’s District Council’s sheltered housing schemes; Sherwood Court and the Flint Avenue Centre and will cover a variety of digital topics.

Despite today’s digitally-driven times, millions of adults across the UK have never used the internet, especially those aged over 55 years. In Nottinghamshire alone, 148,000 people¹ (around one in six residents) have never or rarely used the internet. By not being online people are missing out on significant individual, social, economic and health related benefits such as saving money, being in touch with friends and family and feeling part of modern society.

Last year Nottinghamshire County Council launched the Nottinghamshire Digital Champions Network (NDCN) as part of the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire Programme. Delivered by Digital Unite, the aim of the NDCN is to create and support a team of Digital Champions who can help residents and businesses get the most out of life online. So far, over 80 volunteers have got involved to help, including Milly.

Milly is a Tenant Involvement Officer for Mansfield District Council. She registered as a Nottinghamshire Digital Champion as part of her work to help residents living in sheltered housing schemes to improve their digital skills - and has been encouraging other volunteers to do the same.

Milly said: “The internet can open up a whole new world for people and can make a massive difference to reducing social isolation and loneliness. We are really keen to help our elderly residents with being online so they can be more empowered and better in touch with friends and family.

“These new classes have been introduced in response to our residents asking for support with developing their digital skills. I’ve been busy enlisting volunteers to help and that’s where the Nottinghamshire Digital Champions Network has made a real difference.

“Each volunteer uses the Network to learn how to engage and inspire people with using the internet. It’s another great reason for volunteers to get involved as they get a chance to develop their own digital skills too through the online courses.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing our classes in action over the next few months and seeing how a little help with being online can make a big difference to our residents”.

Councillor Diana Meale, Chair of Economic Development at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We launched the Nottinghamshire Digital Champions Network (NDCN) in May 2015 to train and support volunteers who can go on to help others take advantage of the rich, life-changing opportunities the internet offers. Since its inception, NDCN has gone from strength to strength with over 80 Champions now involved.

“The Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire programme is giving superfast broadband access to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the county, so in tandem with that, it’s vital that people are able to take advantage of the opportunities that brings – whether that’s socialising and being entertained or finding jobs and doing business.

“Milly’s commitment and enthusiasm to providing Mansfield residents with the tools and support they need to participate in today’s digital world is tremendous and epitomises the role of the Network. On behalf of the County Council I wish her and the other Champions involved every success with their classes.”

For further information about becoming a Nottinghamshire Digital Champion, click here

Further information about the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire programme is available here.

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