New campaign ‘Digital Assist’ launched to help everyone online

With 76% of Northern Ireland’s population making use of the internet, businesses are getting behind a new volunteering campaign, Digital Assist, launched today at Visit Belfast. The campaign is aimed at using the IT skills and expertise of employees to help get people of all ages and backgrounds connected.

Supported by NI Direct and organised by Business in the Community, Libraries NI, UTV, u.tv and U105, Volunteering Manager Hilary Hanberry explains the aims of this initiative saying: “Increased digital inclusion will deliver important benefits to communities in terms of financial and social value by assisting with access and skills to avail of a wide range of products and services at lower prices and feel more included in this ever growing world of technology. Launching the campaign at Visit Belfast was perfect. This new centre is using all of the latest technologies, from big tv screens to iPads and offers free WiFi to all users.”

Companies can get involved with Digital Assist throughout the year through its programmes such as Connect-Ability, helping those with disabilities to experience the benefits of the digital world. There will be a concentrated focus during the national Spring Online Week (31 March – 4 April). In Northern Ireland this will include the annual Silver Surfers’ Day on Friday 4 April, helping those over 50 gets to grips with the internet.

Paul Wickens, CEO of Enterprise Shared Services in the Department of Finance and Personnel adds: “Digital Assist 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. I am delighted that the campaign is being assisted in this proactive way by Business in the Community.”

Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV said: “Due to the wide range of UTV’s output which incorporates TV, radio and online, we are looking forward to working closely with Business in the Community to support the Digital Assist campaign and help close the ‘digital divide’ that currently exists within Northern Ireland. As the most watched television station we hope to have real impact in changing awareness in the area of digital skills.”

Business in the Community would love to hear from any employer interested in volunteering in a digital capacity. Please e-mail [email protected] for more information or call (028) 9046 0606.

For more information on Business in the Community, visit www.bitcni.org.uk

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