IF you are gifted a computer or gadget over Christmas and don’t know how to switch it on or make the most of it, then help is at hand.
There are over 75 Digital Champions volunteering in Dorset libraries to help people with computers, tablets, phones and more. Most have gained experience from their professional careers.
Around 21% of people are not confident using the internet – that’s around 150,000 people across Dorset. And 70,000 of these have never been online.
Not everybody has access or the desire to use computers but attending a session may spark an interest. Many learners have bought a tablet or similar, because of the programme.
Carol and Allan Lander in Swanage were helped by their local Digital Champion Simon Parvin.
Carol said: “Simon was very patient and helped me where I was having difficulty. He explained things fully.
“My friend recently bought a new smartphone, I told her to go and see Simon. We were both impressed with his patience. It was incredible.
“Before, I could get as far as putting the power plug in and now I no longer fear computers crashing in front of me.
“Allan had some knowledge of computers but he wanted to know specifically about PayPal, an online payments system. It supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to cheques.”
Digital Champion Simon added: “So much in life now depends on using computers, I am pleased to be able to help people to get going, and to solve their many and varied problems.
“It is a vital service and good to see people gain experience and confidence with their computing skills.”
People without a device can learn free of charge on the library facilities. The sessions are held in a friendly environment and you go at your own pace.
Some Dorset residents say they feel excluded if they are offline and that learning with a Digital Champion boosts their confidence and helps them stay safe and independent.
Thanks to the Superfast Dorset team it is easy to find your nearest volunteer. Call Dorset’s Digital Champion helpline on 01305 221048 for more details about the help available.