Go ON Give an Hour – Guest Blog By Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion

If you’re here, you know how to use the internet. But did you know there are still 5.7 million older people in the UK who’ve never made a free Skype call to a loved one, explored their interests or got a great deal online

In fact, in the UK the average household can save up to £560 a year by shopping and paying bills online and over 25 million people are already using Facebook to share photos and news with family and friends – and it’s entirely free.  This is just one of the ways that being online can combat the social isolation and loneliness experienced by 3.1 million people over 65 year olds who see a friend, relative or neighbour less than once a week (Participle.net).

If you’ve got a relation, friend or neighbour who is missing out on the internet, they’re missing out on loads of ways to make their life easier and more enjoyable. 

On the 30th October the clocks go back and we all have an extra hour. Imagine how exciting it would be if we all used this time to help someone get started online….

Together with partners such as Age UK, the BBC, UK online centres, Three, Mecca bingo and the Post Office we’re asking the 30 million people who use the internet everyday to use this hour to help someone they know get online. If no one you know needs help, why not volunteer at a local charity, care home or social club?

Get your guide to what to do in an hour, watch inspirational films as famous faces show how they use the web, and find further local support or places to volunteer by pledging an hour at www.go-on.co.uk/giveanhour

Age UK also have a range of guides, films and suggestions to support you as a digital champion  to share your IT skills with older people you know at www.ageuk.org.uk/digital-champions

Remember, you don’t need to be an IT whizz to be a digital champ – the best thing to do is show someone how they can use technology to explore their hobbies and interests.  And, if the person you’re helping needs more time or knowledge than you can give, there are plenty of friendly places where they can get free or low cost help and support.

Martha and her Race Online 2012 team have been working with Age UK to help get the UK online since 2010.

Find out more about becoming an Age UK digital champion

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