Dig­i­tal help cen­tre to get peo­ple on­line

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

A MA­JOR ini­tia­tive aimed at help­ing hun­dreds of lo­cal peo­ple gain ac­cess to ben­e­fits and other ser­vices via the internet is about to be launched by Cit­i­zens Ad­vice work­ing with Macmil­lan Cancer Sup­port.

From Mon­day, July 31, spe­cially trained dig­i­tal cham­pi­ons, with a bank of on­line work­sta­tions, will be on hand at its new Dig­i­tal Help Cen­tre to guide any­one liv­ing in West Lan­cashire through a host of ev­ery­day func­tions such as ben­e­fit ap­pli­ca­tions, coun­cil tax, util­ity bills and many oth­ers.

“More and more es­sen­tial ser­vices are only ac­ces­si­ble on­line and many of them need the ap­pli­cant to have an email ad­dress,” said Diane Grad­well, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Lan­cashire West, which is or­gan­is­ing the project.

“But many peo­ple still don’t have ac­cess to the internet, es­pe­cially in ar­eas like Skelmers­dale where nearly half the pop­u­la­tion are over 50, and these are of­ten the peo­ple who need these ser­vices the most.

“Our dig­i­tal cham­pi­ons will be there to help and guide any­one through any of these on­line fa­cil­i­ties and give them a point of con­tact for email.

“Whether it’s univer­sal credit, dis­abil­ity blue badge ap­pli­ca­tions, or any one of dozens of other ev­ery­day essen­tials, we are there to help.”

As well as ac­tive sup­port with on­line ser­vices, the dig­i­tal cham­pi­ons will also be of­fer­ing train­ing for any­one who has internet ac­cess but may not have the skills to make the most of it.

The first dig­i­tal help cen­tre will be based next door to the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Skelmers­dale of­fice in the town’s Con­course Cen­tre, in a for­merly empty unit lent by Wil­liam Hill and shared with Macmil­lan Cancer Sup­port, and plans are al­ready un­der way for sim­i­lar units to be launched in Fleet­wood, Chor­ley and pos­si­bly oth­ers around the re­gion.

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