Spire Homes ‘Spring Online’
Published by Rebecca Mills for Longhurst Group in Education and also in Communities
Spire Homes' first Spring Online event took place at Cyberspace in their head office.
Spire Homes, a member of Longhurst Group, have been encouraging people in Rushden to get ‘tech savvy’ by attending a free internet taster session as part of the national Spring Online campaign.
The event, which was held at Cyberspace at Spire Homes’ head office in Rushden on 28th April, offered the opportunity for people who were previously inexperienced to familiarise themselves with using a computer and the internet.
Pupils volunteered from the Risedene Academy to offer a helping hand and educate older tenants in basic ICT skills, whilst also focusing on the benefits of getting online.
Spring Online 2014 in association with Carphone Warehouse is an award-winning digital inclusion campaign by Digital Unite. Thousands of free taster events and sessions are held each year by volunteers and organisations across the UK to help and inspire local people to achieve a lasting use of the internet.
Currently around 7 million people have never used the internet and of those around 6 million are aged over 55 (Source: ONS 2013). A recent survey showed only 53% of Spire Homes tenants had web access at home, but over the last 12 months the housing association’s Getting Online initiative has focused on working with organisations, like Digital Unite, and eVolve to improve accessibility and skills to people get online.
Spire Homes tenant, Mrs Baughan, said “I really enjoyed being shown how to get information from the internet. I had never been online before and was a little apprehensive – the event allowed me to gain a helpful insight into the benefits of digital technology.”
The event coincided with Spire’s recent receipt of a Big Lottery Grant Fund, which was issued following on from Spire Homes’ drive to support their customers who are digitally excluded.
Helen Mead, Customer Engagement Team Manager said, “We’ve been really pleased with the level of participation in our first Spring Online event and we have more planned throughout the year. Using the internet can bring so many benefits for tenants, from finding better deals for their energy bills and gaining access to vouchers and money off deals, to reducing loneliness through social networking. With the government’s emphasis on becoming digital by default and the movement of benefit applications to online, it’s vital that we help our tenants feel confident using the internet and encourage them to use it regularly so they can reap the rewards.”
The next events will be held on 15th May at Carver Court and The Lodge, and on 16th May at the Spire Homes Cyber Space.
For more information about Spring Online visit www.digitalunite.com/spring-online