New Digital Champs help the North East cross the divide

28 Nov 2013 |Written by Chris Andersson

Over the last few weeks, the Tinder team has delivered Digital Champion training to more than 200 people in the North East of England as part of Go ON UK’s partnership programme to reach as many of the half a million people in the North East without basic digital skills as possible.

I attended the final session this Wednesday, at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium and had the opportunity to meet some of those that had come to the session in order to better help friends, family, clients, or members of their communities get to grips with computers and the internet.

One of the things that struck me most was the huge range of people represented. If you’d have asked me the day before who I expected to see there, I would never have guessed at the mix of UK online centres volunteers, JCP advisors and people who just wanted some tips on helping their mum or dad, granny or friend get online.

I also met staff from a whole range of organisations, from housing associations to banks, and those working with men and women newly released from prison.

It was wonderful to see so many different areas of the community represented. Two hundred new Digital Champions is no small feat but when I heard how many of them were planning on passing their training on to colleagues, friends and family I soon saw that these sessions will have a much bigger impact across the North East than I think any of us anticipated.

The training has also been supported by energy firm E.ON who, as a founder partner of Go ON UK have really been showing their commitment to helping their customers, and the country at large become a more digital nation.

At Tinder, we’ve been making even more noise than usual recently about the inequalities suffered by those without the access or skills needed to get online. Our Digital Nation infographicshows that a lot of people are still being left behind when it comes to the progress of technology.

What was great about these training events was that they proved a partnership approach - people from business, the third sector and individuals who want to make a difference coming together - can help us take even bigger steps toward helping everyone cross that digital divide.