Free IT workshops will help tackle social isolation in Doncaster while teaching people vital skills

Coalfields cash is to fund social workshops in which Doncaster people can learn all about technology.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 1:11 pm
Sharing of skills

Using funding of £8,120 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Libre Digital is to launch 48, three-hour IT workshops that will take place in Bentley and Stainforth Libraries.

The organisation has worked with some of the most deprived and socially isolated people in South Yorkshire, helping them to improve their media literacy and encourage digital inclusion.

To be run by qualified professionals, the free sessions in Doncaster will equip learners with the skills they need to better understand computer hardware and software, the internet, social media channels and different forms of technology.

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Libre Digital will encourage participants to share their skills and work together, so that they can learn how to manage technical issues in a relaxed setting.

The community organisation will use this opportunity to tackle loneliness and the negative health and wellbeing impacts that are linked to lack of IT access and low income, by bringing people together to meet, learn and share.

The first sessions take place on Friday, March 29, at Stainforth Library from 1pm to 4pm and at Bentley Library from 9.30am – 12.30pm.

Fiona Lawrence, deputy manager at Stainforth 4 All, said: “The Stainforth FreeTech Project course is a great opportunity for local people to find out how to use a phone, tablet or computer in a friendly, community environment.”

Audrey Thompson, one of the directors at Bentley Library, added: “Bentley Area Community Library is a hub of activity, providing social, support and educational opportunities for the greater Bentley area and beyond. We are excited about this project as we have many technology needs.

“Libre Digital will help us to improve our skills, especially for our social history project, as well as essential form filling and using smart phones. This will complement the IT sessions with W.E.A and the informal help our volunteers provide already.”

Libre Digital founder, Jay Baker, said: “At Libre Digital we have set the objective to connect, communicate and change. We believe that everyone should have access to digital technology and to the internet and that this should be a basic human right.

“Technology is a great way to tackle social isolation, while also teaching people new skills. What many of us take for granted is out of reach for residents in our community, but thanks to the funding and practical support from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we know that 40 further people will be given the help that they need.”

Development Manager (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Lynn Utting,said: “We must remember that IT literacy and access to digital technologies isn’t just about communicating with friends and family, it is also a fundamental necessity when it comes to apply for jobs online.

“By not giving everyone equal access, we are creating a culture whereby some people are disadvantaged and will not have the opportunity to change their lives for the better. We are pleased that our funding and practical support will go some way to addressing that balance.”

As Libre Digital has become a member of Coalfield Community Investment Programme it will continue to be supported by the Trust and will receive bespoke practical support.

For further details about the Coalfields Regeneration Trusts, visit: www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.