Council Pledges To Get Everyone Online

The Council of the Isles of Scilly has said it will ensure every member of the community has access to, and can use, the internet.

The pledge is part of the national RaceOnline 2012 campaign, set up by internet entrepreneur, Martha Lane Fox, who wants to make the UK the first nation in the world where everyone can use the web.

Around 8.2 million British adults have never used the internet, and around 39% of those are over 65.

Community Learning Coordinator, Lisa Magill Brown said the islands’ adult education organisation, Lifelong Learning, has been focusing it’s own IT skills training on the over 65s for the past 2 years.

Lisa thinks it is particularly important for our islands’ elderly residents to learn internet skills as many of the best deals can only be obtained online.

In fact, Lisa says one 87-year-old lady recently bought her new fridge online after attending the training sessions.

She says it can also help people to keep in touch with friends and relatives on the mainland.

St Mary’s resident, Smudge Smith, was one of those who took part in the ‘Silver Surfer’ sessions and he said they were well worth attending.”

He already had good IT skills but still managed to expand his knowledge and pick up some useful tips, particularly using the online video conferencing service, Skype.

Smudge said the sessions were like a small, friendly club and many of the more advanced users went on to help the less expert members of the group.

He said using a mouse was the hardest thing for many new users to master, particularly the elderly, but people learnt quickly after that.

Lisa says Lifelong Learning hope to introduce drop-in sessions at Carn Thomas in May, and Lisa believes some people will find these more useful as they can learn at their own rate at a time that suits them, and won’t have to sign up for a full course.

She says the new library, when it relocates to Porthcressa, will have a suite of computer terminals to allow people with no internet access at home to get online.