Free digital training classes have launched to boost the online skills of Rochford residents as part of a national initiative by Sanctuary Housing.
In partnership with We Are Digital, residents are being trained through the Sanctuary Online programme, an exciting project teaching everyone from those seeking work to those in retirement how to use the internet and make the most of the online world.
The first session in Rochford took place at Sanctuary Housing’s retirement living scheme Chignal House in Rayleigh and more are planned in the coming months.
Delivered by digital experts from We Are Digital, the workshops are teaching residents a range of skills including searching and applying for jobs online, paying bills, preparing CV’s and managing Universal Credit. Residents can also learn how to efficiently use computer software such as Microsoft Word and Excel, and keep in touch with family and friends through email and Skype.
Chris Silvey, Sanctuary Housing’s neighbourhood partnerships manager for Rochford, said: “We are proud to help residents gain the knowledge to get online and learn new skills as it will help them enjoy all the benefits that digital technology can add to their lives, whatever their age.
“Being online can reduce social isolation, help people find work and make it easier for them to handle day to day activities.”
Figures released in 2016 show that 12.6 million people in the UK are still not online. Of those with limited basic digital skills, 57 per cent are aged over 65, 31 per cent earn less than £9,500 a year, 28 per cent are unemployed and 26 per cent live in rural areas.
Residents Pat and John Davies, 80 and 83 respectively, took part in the first digital class. John said: “We wanted to learn about how to email and shop online and felt that we came away from the session knowing really useful things about the internet that could make life easier for us.”
Sanctuary Online aims to train around 700 residents across the country and improve their digital skills so they can take advantage of the online world. As part of the programme, there is also a City and Guilds qualification available for residents who want to use the training to improve their employability skills.
Residents of all ages and skill levels can sign up for the programme, with dedicated one-to-one home sessions available.