Digital help centre to get people online
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.