Salford City Council has joined forces with TalkTalk to help tackle digital poverty in the city.
A new pilot scheme is set to be launched during Get Online Week (Monday 18 to Sunday 24 October), a national campaign to inspire people to do more online and help them learn how.
TalkTalk has recruited around 30 employees to run workshops in the council’s gateway centres - as well as in community centres from Loaves and Fishes to The Shed at Salford Foundation and Critchley Community Hub. These Digital Champions will support residents, delivering easy to understand information and answering questions. They will help to breakdown fears about scams online as well as providing practical advice and tips to keep people safe.
This free support will continue after Get Online Week with a system in place for community centres, libraries and other local organisations to apply to have a TalkTalk Digital Champion visit their venue. This is just one of many ways that the council is ensuring the benefits of the internet and digital technologies are available to everyone.
The announcement comes as TalkTalk launches its brand-new volunteering policy which enables colleagues to take three-days paid leave throughout the year to volunteer for local community causes.
Bronagh McCloskey, Head of Public Affairs and CSR, said: “We’re keen to help our local community in Salford and strive to be a good neighbour wherever possible. We understand the need for digital inclusion, now more than ever, and have been working with Salford City Council to identify how we can support their work to get all residents online. These workshops, hosted by our Digital Champions, will benefit anybody who is new to the internet or feels restricted online.
“At TalkTalk, we have a volunteering policy enabling colleagues to get out into the neighbourhood and offer their skills to local charities or groups. And we’re proud to re-launch the policy this year so that each person can take up to three-days paid leave to give back to the community. Get Online Week is a fantastic way to kick this off.”
Councillor Sharmina August, Lead Member for Inclusive Economy, Anti-Poverty and Equalities, said “Digital skills are as essential as being able to read and write so people without are being left behind by an increasingly digital society. We’re committed to supporting residents all year round but Get Online Week is the ideal time for us to provide extra help.
“So it’s fantastic that TalkTalk are getting on board in this way, showing their long-term commitment to helping residents. We’re looking forward to welcoming TalkTalk employees into our gateways and community centres across the city from Critchley Community Hub to Salford Loaves and Fishes. They’ll help us to provide even more support for anyone who wants to start doing a bit more online. Even if you send the odd email, use Facebook or read the news on your phone, you could still be missing out on so much. And getting the most out of the internet doesn’t have to be scary, we’re encouraging everyone to come along and give it a try, especially during Get Online Week.
“We’ve worked with lots of partners to organise a whole range of free events across the city for the week commencing Monday 18 October. This includes HOST, our innovation hub at MediaCityUK, whose experts can help you build your portfolio online and be cybersafe. But you can just drop into our Gateways where staff will be in the foyer to help and offering a free brew too! Whether it’s how to navigate the council’s website, complete an online form or sign up for the family portal, help is at hand.
“Even the week beforehand, on Thursday 14 October from 10am to 3pm, the Co-op’s pop-up van will be at Pendleton Gateway. We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of digital from saving money by finding better deals online to managing your health and keeping in touch with friends and family.”
To find out about all the events taking place during Get Online Week and a children’s online quiz to win a tablet, visit the Digital Everyone website or call our Spirit of Salford helpline on 0800 952 1000.