Peterborough residents and community groups offered help with digital skills

Matthew Beckett and Peter Wilson from PCC/Serco digital inclusion team with members of the Bharat Hindu Samaj group
Matthew Beckett and Peter Wilson from PCC/Serco digital inclusion team with members of the Bharat Hindu Samaj group
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Residents and community groups in Peterborough who would like to improve their digital skills are being reminded that help is at hand.

Over the past three and a half years Peterborough City Council, in partnership with Serco, has been running a Digital Inclusion training scheme aimed at helping anyone who wants to boost their computing and online know-how.

The programme is centred around helping people to access services such as paying bills online, keeping in touch with family and friends and carrying out online shopping. Sessions are aimed at helping people of all ages and are free to attend.

The council runs a series of regular ‘online basics’ drop-in sessions at libraries across the city and also organises five week training courses, which have been taken up by a number of community groups with great success.

One such example is the Peterborough Indian community group Bharat Hindu Samaj, which enjoyed the five week course so much that it is hoping to arrange further sessions for members who were originally unable to attend.

Jayshree Mehta, president of Bharat Hindu Samaj, said: “When we were offered training sessions on digital inclusion we were extremely pleased, but we weren’t sure what the uptake would be.

“However, about 20 of us found the course opened up new avenues of communications and helped us greatly progress in terms of using digital technology.

“It was formal learning yet in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with plenty of humour. We have picked up on so much information to help us use the latest technology in a safer way. It has been a joy to learn something so useful in today’s world and we are very thankful to the team.”

Matthew Beckett, from the PCC/Serco digital inclusion team, said: “As more of our services become digital in the future and some only available online, it is important to ensure that residents are aware of the benefits of using the internet and have the relevant skills and confidence to use it.

“The training course and drop-in sessions have proved popular and we are keen to try and reach out to anyone who thinks they could do with help.

“All the sessions are free and everything is done at people’s pace. It’s a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and we’re happy to answer any questions.”

By taking part in the five week training course, participants will learn the following:

. Differences between devices

. Using the Peterborough City Council website, highlighting benefits such as paying by direct debit online and communication with the authority through social media

. How to complete online forms

. Setting up an email account and how to use it

. Accessing organisational websites

. Online shopping

. Catch-up TV

. Connecting with friends and family

The following ‘online basics’ drop-in sessions are held on a regular basis:

. Every Thursday 10.30am - 11.30am at Bretton Library

. First Friday of every month 11am - 12pm at Werrington Library

. Every Tuesday 1.30pm - 2.30pm at Orton Library.

For more information, or if you have any questions, you can telephone the Digital Inclusion team on 07815628673 or you can email digitalaccess@peterborough.gov.uk.