This year I was privileged to again be asked to judge Age UK’s Internet Champion of the year awards for the third year and last night was the big announcement. The awards aim to celebrate inspirational older people who have recently got online and who are passionate about the benefits the internet can provide. As always, the event was an inspirational one, and – if I needed a reminder – showed me just how powerful the internet can be in changing people’s lives.
One of the winners – Jim Perry – is 92 years young, and he only started his journey three years ago at his local UK online centre in Kent. He was accompanied to the event by Bev, one of the wonderful tutors from the centre who has supported Jim on his journey – both pictured here.
As well as receiving his award last night, Jim took a star turn on the Daybreak sofa this morning, to help promote the benefits of the internet to others who haven’t yet taken their first steps.
The one point Jim made clear – both at the awards last night and on Daybreak this morning – was that the help and support he received from the Eastchurch Learning Centre that made his journey possible. This is a fantastic advertisement for the centre itself, and for centres all over the country that are supporting people to get online for the first time, improve their skills and gain the confidence they need to change their lives. So congratulations to Jim, and all of the other unofficial Internet Champions throughout the country who have changed their lives – and a big thank you to all those who have provided the vital support to help them on their journey.
This morning on the telly when Jim was asked: “What should older people who want to get online do?” He replied: “Come and see me and I’ll sort you out.” I’m sure Jim – and the other winner last night, Jan – will help many thousands of people get the courage and motivation they need to get online for the first time through their Age UK TV, radio, and local media assignments. Even if they can’t go and see Jim personally, there are people in every community in the country ready to help.