On Thursday 4 May, more than 70 business volunteers took a break from their offices to support almost 350 Silver Surfers – people over the age of 50 – with FREE digital skills, getting to grips with the Internet, email, Skype and social media in 25 libraries across Northern Ireland.
Organised by Business in the Community, in partnership with the Department of Finance, and supported by Libraries NI, Silver Surfers’ Day has been helping older people get online for 14 years.
Denise Cranston, Head of Community Resilience, Business in the Community explains: “In today’s increasingly digital world, it can seem as though everyone is online. However, there are still a considerable number of people not benefitting from all that the internet has to offer. Training sessions like these provide a valuable opportunity for older people to learn basic IT skills that will enable them to get connected.
“Of course, we couldn’t do it without our business volunteers and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them. It’s a big commitment with more than £25,000 of business time contributed this year alone. All of our volunteers are passionate about sharing their skills and they get true joy from helping someone else understand how they can keep in touch with family and friends through Facebook or Skype; save money by shopping on eBay or Amazon; or learn to play the guitar using YouTube. Being connected to the worldwide web certainly has its advantages!”
Paul Wickens, CEO of Enterprise Shared Services in the Department of Finance adds: “I am delighted the campaign is being supported in this proactive way by Business in the Community. Silver Surfers’ Day as part of Spring Online Week forms part of our ‘Go ON NI’ programme which aims to encourage as many people as possible to go online, address any barriers, promote the benefits of accessing the internet, and highlight the convenience of online public services.”
Helen Osborn, Acting Chief Executive, Libraries NI, explains: “This year, Libraries NI was delighted to host free IT sessions in 25 libraries across Northern Ireland to mark Silver Surfers’ Day. Almost 350 Silver Surfers enjoyed this day in our libraries and availed of the computer facilities with free broadband and Wi-Fi which are available for library members, not only on Silver Surfers’ Day but any time of the year. With free membership, everyone is invited to call in and join their local library today.”