Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Get Connected; It's Your Digital Future in Association with Go ON UK and Its Partners

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Get Connected; It's Your Digital Future in Association with Go ON UK and Its Partners

Article excerpt

IF you're one of the 125,000 people in the North East who doesn't know how to use the Internet, a visit to your local Post Office is now your first port of call to Get Connected. Post Office branches now offer a free walk-in service called Get Connected where counter staff can print out the nearest courses and internet access points to your home from over 5,000 venues nationwide such as libraries, colleges and learning centres. The vast majority of courses are free. All 11,800 Post Office branches have access to the same single database, which is managed by the TINDER Foundation and is continually updated, so all you need to do is walk into your nearest branch and tell staff your postcode. As 99.7% of people live within three miles of their nearest Post Office and 93.1% live within a mile, help with Internet skills is now at the heart of every community. "It's a national database with a very local approach," said Alan Taylor, community and social responsibility manager for the Post Office. "We're in a unique place within the community to have that face to face conversation with customers to signpost them in the right direction and show them where to get started." The Post Office is a founder partner of charity Go ON UK, which aims to make the UK the world's most digitally skilled nation. But according to Mr Taylor the main barriers to getting online are fear and not realising how useful the Internet can be to your life. "The most common thing people say is 'I can't go on the Internet as I might break it', 'I'm too old' or 'it's not for me'," he said. "It's a huge journey if you've never used a computer or even typed on a keyboard before. The changing pace of technology can seem frightening but it's only when people get some proper training that they realise it's not as complicated as they thought." "There are so many practical benefits such as being able to see your grandchildren abroad on Skype, having your shopping delivered or enjoying hobbies like tracing your family tree. …

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