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FEATURES - E-GOV.UK

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A Silver Surfers Day is helping older people to get to grips with technology, says Nicola Sleightholme ...
A Silver Surfers Day is helping older people to get to grips with technology, says Nicola Sleightholme

Older people in Northumberland are being encouraged to get online. Local town and village libraries held a Silver Surfers Day in April, to encourage older people to come and see what the internet has to offer.

This was part of National Adult Learners Week and central government's Office of the e-Envoy's plans to promote use of the internet.

Over half the adult population are now regular internet users, and 62% have used the internet at some point.

This means a third of the population have never used the internet - a significant proportion of these being older people.

Silver Surfers Days will hopefully help older people to access the opportunities the internet can provide for them. Many older people may find the internet useful for keeping in touch with family and friends, for shopping or booking a holiday, or just for browsing.

E-champion for Northumberland CC is head of change management David Maxted. He says: 'The day was about providing an opportunity for older people to gain access to the information sources, opportunities for learning and access to enabling technology that the internet offers.'

Deputy leader and spokesperson for modernisation Bill Brooks (Lab) adds: 'We want to ensure all residents can benefit from the internet, both young and old, but sometimes a fear of technology acts as a barrier. We hope the day has helped to break down some of those barriers.

'I suppose that as I am 61 myself, I would be considered a silver surfer, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I think the internet is one of the best forms of modern communication available. I use the internet regularly, and would say you're never too old to learn a new trick. '

Library staff were on hand to offer expert guidance, support and help on how to get the most out of the web. Many older Northumberland residents attended the day and have since become regular internet users.

Local resident David Jordan says:

'I think it is great. I have just been told I can even pay my phone bill from here, which is going to save me a trip into town.'

Nicola Sleightholme

Public relations assistant, Northumberland CC

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