Connecting people with innovative internet skills initiative

14 December 2018

 Radius Housing & Business in the Community launch Interconnected digital skills training programme

A new initiative to tackle social isolation by improving digital skills has been launched by Radius Housing in partnership with Business in the Community. The project, ’Interconnected’, is utilising the skills of business volunteers to help teach IT skills to Radius tenants in three schemes in Belfast. Interconnected aims to help individuals improve their digital skills, get online, increase their confidence in using the internet and help them connect with friends and family. 

The training sessions will equip tenants with new digital skills to utilise the resources available on the internet and fulfil their potential online. The programme, which will be delivered in Grahamsbridge Manor, Pinetree Manor and Lagmore Community Forum throughout October and November, will provide an opportunity for learners to come together on a regular basis and help them build connections with people around them.

The volunteers who carry out the sessions are mobilised by Business in the Community and come from their volunteer pool, which includes companies such as First Trust Bank, Barclays, the Consumer Council and HMRC. The four training sessions will allow learners to engage directly with the volunteers to develop confidence and skills which they can use beyond the sessions.

Radius Housing hopes that the project will encourage tenants to connect online and help battle social isolation. Speaking at the first training session Martin Downey from Radius Housing said: “We are delighted to launch Interconnected with Business in the Community. Social isolation is an increasing problem, and more and more services are moving to digital platforms, which means it is essential that our tenants feel confident in using the internet. Interconnected enables them to improve their digital skills, learn from experienced volunteers and gain an insight into the many benefits that digital technology can bring. The group sessions will not only help with digital connection, but will also bring a new social connection for participants. We hope that this programme can be replicated across our Radius schemes.”

Andy Nisbet Friel, Communities Executive at Business in the Community, added: “In today’s digital world it can seem as though everything has moved online. The shift to online services in particular has changed the way in which we live, work and socialise, but there are still many people who aren’t benefiting from the digital revolution.

“All our training sessions are led by friendly volunteers who are passionate about sharing their skills. They are all very patient and get a real sense of reward from helping others. The sessions can cover a range of things, from learning how to stay connected to friends and family through Facebook or Skype; to learning how to shop online, or perhaps even setting up an email account.

We’ve had great feedback from learners involved in similar projects who found the sessions very worthwhile, and I’d encourage anyone who would like to volunteer to take a session to get in touch.” 

If you’d like to volunteer for the Interconnected programme, contact Andy Nisbet Friel by emailing andrew.nisbetfriel@bitcni.org.uk, or call (028) 9046 0606.

ENDS

Further Information

Brendan Scott

MW Advocate

028 9026 7072

07834422923

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