Get online week: More tales from on the ground

On the Get online week theme, here’s another blog – from our Communications Manager, Anna.

“On Wednesday, I went along to what was perhaps Sheffield’s flagship Get online week event – a big drop-in session supported by lots of partners and volunteers that took place at the Town Hall. The event was a great example of partnership working – the council and local UK online centre came together, and got lots of other partners on board to talk about their online services, and to support people who needed a bit of help to use them. There were Wii games and free tea and coffee – what more did you need?

“Unfortunately, I spent the morning not in the warm town hall but on the steps outside, armed with a bunch of leaflets, trying to encourage people to come inside and brush up their skills.

“I won’t lie – it wasn’t an easy job. I lost count of the number of times I was told “I’m too old”, “These computers, they’re not for me” or “I just don’t have time.”

“Breaking down the barriers wasn’t just hard – at times it was impossible unless I wanted to chase people down the street. At best I could hand them a leaflet and encourage them to think about it – and hope that in the end, some of them will do.

“There’s 8 million of these people in the UK that, for one reason or another, have resisted the draw to get online. And we might have to give them leaflets ten times, or twenty times, or more, before they make the first move to get online.

“But – when I did finally make it into the warmth, it was clear that for the people who did come along it was all worth it. They were sending emails, connecting with people on Facebook, booking tickets and checking train times. Seeing them get to grips with things really showed just how worthwhile campaigns like Get online week can be – and I hope some of the people I chatted to outside come to realise this too.”

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