Could you help people get online during Digitober?

Next month is Digitober across Greater Manchester, a month-long focus on digital, which includes the Get Online Week campaign to help people improve their digital skills.

Stockport's DigiKnow community network is planning a range of events and needs your help to support as many people as possible.

Do you love being online? How would you feel if you couldn't get onto the internet to work, order shopping, or keep up with family or friends? Although many people learnt to do more online during the lockdowns, you might be surprised that nearly 1 in 5 adults still lack the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life. If you know or work with people who would benefit from being online, the DigiKnow network can help you to help them.

Councillor Malcolm Allan, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, says: "In Stockport, we have an outstanding partnership between community groups, organisations from all sectors and volunteers who help people to get online and do things digitally. This DigiKnow network is vital to help people gain the support and skills they need to change their lives and overcome social challenges. We're looking for more volunteers and organisations to join this network, and we offer free training and resources to help with this vital work."

Starting Point Community Learning Partnership, one of the founding partners of the DigiKnow network, run two free DigiKnow training courses that are suitable for both individual volunteers and organisations interested in becoming part of DigiKnow:

  • DigiKnow Friends is a one-hour online training session to learn how digital exclusion impacts people, what's happening in Stockport to tackle it and where you can signpost people who need support to do things online. The next DigiKnow Friends training session will take place on 26 September.
  • Digital Champion training takes your training to the next level, giving you the skills and confidence to help people to learn digital skills. The next Digital Champion training day takes place on 20 October.

Most community groups and organisations that join DigiKnow already provide other forms of support to residents, including employment, health and wellbeing, foodbank, disability, homelessness and refugee integration. Many people they support would benefit from being online but are unlikely to undertake formal learning. By providing support with digital through trusted faces in local places, there is more chance of reaching digitally excluded people.

DigiKnow also welcomes individual volunteers who can spare some time to help others to get online. You only need basic digital skills (such as answering emails) to undertake the training on supporting learners. Most importantly, it helps if you're enthusiastic about being online and sharing this with others. Digital Champion volunteers, such as Paddy McDonald, tell us they find it very rewarding: "You feel so good at the end when someone's learnt something."

If you or your organisation would like to be part of DigiKnow, please visit our DigiKnow web pages or email our digital team.