Minister for Finance, Jane Hutt will be launching the Get Blaenau Gwent Online campaign at an event in Tredegar Library next week (Monday 25th February). The Minister will meet with various groups of learners, tutors and local figures before launching the website http://www.getblaenaugwentonline.org.uk.
There is also a Get Blaenau Gwent Online Twitter feed @GetBGOnline
The Get Blaenau Gwent Online campaign is a local strategic partnership, consisting of the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 Digital Inclusion Project, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (including the adult education, leisure, IT and libraries departments), Tai Calon Community Housing, Job Centre Plus and other local partners.
Progress is being made on getting more people to embrace the Internet and the opportunities it presents, but there is still a long way to go. The latest results from the 2012 National Survey for Wales show that 73% of the adult population in Wales use the internet, which is up from 66% at the start of 2011. In addition, the latest ONS figures show that 19% of adults in the Gwent Valleys have never used the Internet, compared to 25% in 2011.
The forthcoming Welfare Reform and the introduction of Universal Credit will bring significant challenges for many residents who are unable to use digital technologies. This proactive partnership approach to digital inclusion in Blaenau Gwent will ensure that people are able to access a well co-ordinated, appropriate package of support.
Cathryn Marcus, Communities 2.0 Project Director, said:
“We are delighted to support this new campaign for Blaenau Gwent. Knowing how to get online and use technology can help you stay in touch with family and friends, save money and even get more out of your hobbies. Being online has become increasingly important in recent years, as many more public services are transferred to the web. The vast majority of jobs now require some level of IT proficiency. Most vacancies are advertised on the Internet, with many requiring you to be online to apply for them.”
Councillor Haydn Trollope, Blaenau Gwent Council's Executive Member for Work Transformation and Partnership and the council’s Digital Champion, says:
"The Government’s welfare reform programme is set to have a big impact on people living in our communities. We take our responsibility in supporting people through the changes very seriously and have set up a special Executive Committee sub-group to look at how we can help and support those affected.
“We are pleased to be teaming up with the Welsh Government, through the Communities 2.0 programme, on the Get Blaenau Gwent Online campaign in order to try and address the significant digital challenges facing people in the area. The package of support includes the introduction of two digital inclusion officers who will work with the local community to develop hubs across the borough where people can easily access a computer and learn the basic skills required to carry out tasks online. As well as helping people get to grips with the digital side of welfare reform, it is imperative we encourage them to use the internet as a tool to help them budget and access financial advice and planning.”
Norma Williams is learning how to use computers for the first time, at the age of 79, at Ebbw Vale library. She said:
“I’ve been going with my daughter, as she wants to learn new skills for her job. I thought it would be good to learn for myself, as I have a son in South Africa and would like to talk to him on Skype. I’ve been shown how to set up an e-mail address and have been taught basic keyboard and mouse skills in the first two lessons. I’ve enjoyed it so far and our tutor, from Communities 2.0, has allayed any concerns I had about online security. He’s making it easy to understand, puts us at ease and helps us to learn from our mistakes. As I learn more, I think I would like to have an iPad and my own internet connection at home.”
Notes to editors:
Launch event details:
Date: 25th February 2013
Time: 1000 – 1200hrs
For more information please
Mark Smith (01443) 742143 / 07900 260321 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Madge (01792) 484005 / 07900167906 email@example.com
Angela Jones 07766 495473
Regional ICT Broker
Stephanie Davies 07788 314706
Regional ICT Broker
Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme and is part of the Delivering a Digital Wales strategy. Communities 2.0 is delivered by four partner organisations – the Wales Co-operative Centre, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire County Council and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (University of Glamorgan). Much of the funding for Communities 2.0 has come from the European Regional Development Fund. Communities 2.0 works in the Convergence area of Wales and parts of Wrexham, Flintshire and Powys, helping communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.
Facebook: ‘Like’ Communities 2.0
Twitter: ‘Follow’ @Communities2_0
Tel: 0845 474 8282