The Isle of Man will be playing its part in a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more people to log on and enjoy the benefits of digital technology.
Get Online Week from 17 to 23 October will see events taking place in communities throughout the British Isles to show people how the internet can make life easier, healthier, cheaper and more fun.
It is widely acknowledged that getting online can benefit people financially and socially, helping them to keep in touch with friends and family and to access training and employment opportunities, leisure activities, research and information.
Island organisations will be hosting activities next week to build on the support and guidance already delivered year-round by local authorities, businesses, charities and voluntary groups.
Get Online Week also aligns with the Isle of Man Government’s Digital Inclusion Strategy, which is helping to reduce social isolation and its associated health risks, particularly among older people. The focus is on breaking down the barriers that people face in terms of skills, access to equipment and broadband, trust and motivation.
The Government is encouraging organisations to sign up to its Digital Inclusion Charter, while a number of public servants are volunteering as Digital Friends to help others develop their skills.
As part of Get Online Week, the Harvey Briggs Onchan Library will be hosting two special events on Thursday 20 October. A Tea & Teach session takes place between 2pm and 4pm, with a Code Playground for children from 4pm to 6pm. Places can be booked at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help and advice is available at the library on Tuesday mornings and people can also drop in to the computer sessions at the Leonard Cheshire building on the main road in the village.
Weekly computer club classes are also available through Age Isle of Man in Peel, Ramsey, Douglas and Port St Mary.
- Peel: House of Manannan – Monday AM/PM
- Ramsey: Ramsey Town Hall – Tuesday AM and Friday AM/PM
- Douglas: iMuseum Kingswood Grove – Wednesday AM/PM and Thursday AM
- Port St Mary: New Southlands, ground floor library – Monday AM/PM and Thursday PM
Barry Hodge who runs the classes said:
‘Everybody is welcome, from beginners who have never switched on a computer to the more experienced users who just want to ask a question or two.’
Further information is available from www.ageisleofman.org.im and on Facebook.
The Henry Bloom Noble Library in Douglas has computer facilities available for public use.
Borough Librarian Jan Macartney said: ‘Our IT suite is well used and many people bring their own devices as we provide charging points and free wi-fi. We also have online services at www.douglaslibrary.im including ebooks, emagazines, comics, graphic novels and online encyclopaedias. These resources are available 24/7, so can be invaluable for people working unsocial hours or those who cannot visit the library in person.’
The Chamber of Commerce is also helping its members to improve their digital skills by holding workshops for small businesses.
A Marketing Through Social Media event is being held on Tuesday 18 October to be followed later in the year by workshops on search engine optimisation, online security and managing social media reputation. Further details are available at www.iomchamber.org.im