Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pilot tablet course with over 55's in Bristol great success

In Bristol, BT and Bristol City Council and Citizens Online are working together to run the Get IT Together Programme, a community development approach to digital inclusion.

Get IT Together – Bristol has also been working with partner organisation, the Dolphin Society which aims to support independent living for the elderly.

Throughout June and July 2013, Get IT Together – Bristol ran a seven week beginners iPad course at Charities Day Centre in Henbury. The iPads were kindly loaned from The Dolphin Society.

The course showed learners how to use iPads; navigate the internet; online shopping; setting up calendars, and how to Skype friends.  The course had nine learner aged from 62-years-old to 81-years-old. The learners had never used a tablet before and two of the learners had never used a computer before.

As a result of the course, five of the learners have now got their own iPad either through buying them at a reduced rate from the Dolphin Society or purchasing them themselves. 

Ivor took the course to keep up with his three grandchildren who enjoy using computers. He commented “I have been using the iPads to send emails, find directions, read books and set up a library.” Ivor also uses his iPad to play bingo during the evening.

For information on other Get IT Together – Bristol courses, please visit

Learners, Ivor and Caroline shared their experiences of the course and getting online with us. To watch the YouTube videos, please click on the links below.

Get IT Together in Bristol is supported by BT’s Connected Society programme, BT’s commitment to help people right around the world gain the skills and confidence they need to join the online community and Bristol City Council.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Kevin O’Malley talks to Bristol volunteers about the importance of their support

In Bristol, Citizens Online are partnering with BT and Bristol City Council to run the Get IT Together Programme.

As part of the Get IT Together – Bristol project, volunteers run 11 free beginners’ computer courses throughout Bristol each week. In April 2013, Kevin O’Malley, Manager of the Future City team at Bristol City Council spoke at the bi-annual Bristol Volunteers Thank you and Best Practice Day about the importance of volunteering. The transcript of that talk follows.

 “Hi, I’m Kevin O’Malley and my work involves helping Bristol to be at the forefront of digital inclusion, highlighting and addressing the barriers people have to getting online.  

There are three main barriers to getting online; equipment, connectivity and skills.

Volunteers at the Citizens Online computer courses play a vital role in addressing this issue of skills and that’s why I’ve come here today to say thank you to you all for the time and enthusiasm you are putting into helping people get online.

With welfare reforms coming in and people having to get online to access essential services it is becoming a bit problem for some people who don’t have the skills, as well as the other barriers mentioned.

Some people don’t have the connectivity and there are lots of reasons for that; very expensive or having to sign up to long term contracts. 

Maybe they don’t have the kit, getting the kit without the knowledge of what to buy or get something that’s useful to you, is very difficult.

Having the computer skills is the thing that I think is most valuable, giving the people the skills and the confidence, without that people are going to become more and more disadvantaged.

Organisations like government and city councils move towards more digital services as it’s cheaper to relate to people online, so the obligation is for people to be able communicate more in that way. Businesses have been doing it for a long time, if you want to buy a ticket to go on Easy Jet or Ryan Air you need a digital connection.

My fear is we are already going to find people that are disadvantaged in lots of different ways, more disadvantaged by not having the skills to get online, and this is a fantastic program that is really making a difference. Nationally this is one of the most effective, and highly respected, programs of this kind and I know we couldn’t have done it here in Bristol without you guys delivering it.

I suppose the thing for me is getting down to the human stories and the differences this makes to people’s lives, just to be able to think there are hundreds of people now in the city today who are able to Skype their relatives abroad because of the work that you guys do, and I just wanted to say thanks very much, it’s really important and valuable stuff.”