The internet really can open up new opportunities and help us all to get more out of life, regardless of age. Yet today, more than five million older people in the UK have never been online, so Age UK warmly welcomes the commitments of our fellow Go ON UK partners to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy the benefits of the web.
“We hear all the time from older people how using digital technology is enriching later life, so helping more older people to get online is a top priority for us. As well as working with local Age UKs to run technology classes for older people, Age UK is committed to equipping our 2,500 staff and many volunteers with the digital skills they need. In addition we will ensure everyone will be supported to retire from Age UK with the digital know-how needed to help them in later life.
Tom Wright, Group Chief Executive
As well as working with local Age UKs to run technology classes for older people, we are committed to equipping our staff with the digital skills they need; everyone will be supported to retire from Age UK with the digital know-how needed to help them in later life.
All 2,500 Age UK employees will have basic digital literacy skills by 2015. We’ll also ensure that anyone retiring from Age UK before then is given opportunities to build their digital skills. Courses in digital skills will be integrated into our staff learning and development programmes and further developed from 2013. Selected staff and volunteers will be encouraged to be Digital Champions through campaigns and engaging communications, ensuring the Go ON commitments are lived through our values as an organisation.
We want to ensure that we make the most of the potential of the internet to increase the impact of our most valuable services. Age UK’s primary national service is Information & Advice (covering topics such as claiming benefits, staying healthy and warm in winter and accessing social care and support to stay independent at home), aiming to reach 21m people in total by 2015. Our I&A resources will reach 3m older people or their carers online per year by 2015.
We will also embed online messages about the benefits of being online at appropriate points in our I&A resources and services, even where the primary content is not directly related to digital skills. Our I&A staff will be trained to highlight online benefits to clients at appropriate trigger points.
Age UK will create a safe and secure online community for older people to socialise with likeminded individuals, targeted to reach 50,000 by 2015. We will specifically look at online support for special interest groups and localised areas.
We want to help older people make the most of all the internet has to offer. Our newly designed digital inclusion programmes for older people, including the most isolated and vulnerable, will help them to build their Basic Online Skills through our national network of local Age UKs delivering digital inclusion services.
Specialised classes will show how being online can help with issues of particular concern to older people including managing money and decreasing loneliness.
Further initiatives, such as national campaigns on digital skills issues or technology products specifically designed for older people, will help engage older people with the full range of digital skills.