Digital roadshow stopping at Sherborne, Bridport, Wool and Wimborne

NEED help navigating the digital world? Then Dorset Council’s volunteer digital champion service is holding a roadshow around the county next week.

Volunteers will be manning stalls in Sherborne, Bridport, Wool and Wimborne during national Get Online week next week (October 16-20).

Volunteers will be able to answer any questions visitors may have, and visitors will also have the chance to try out tablets and take part in fun inter-active quizzes.

Everyone who visits one of the volunteer digital champion stalls can enter a free draw with the chance of winning a tablet of their own.

The volunteer digital champion service was set up in 2013 with volunteers based in some of the council’s libraries to provide face-to-face support to people needing help.

Now 45 digital champions are based at 39 locations across the county – from Verwood in the east to Lyme Regis in the west, and from Weymouth in the south to Gillingham in the north.

In the last decade they have helped about 15,000 people through face-to-face appointments and a further 3,500 over the phone since the Digital Hotline was launched in 2020.

Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for corporate development and transformation, said: “Providing ten years of digital help to thousands of our residents is a huge achievement and testament to the dedication and hard work of all our volunteers.

“When we set up the service in 2013 it was difficult to imagine just how quickly technology would evolve.

“The pandemic escalated things further and we are all now living in a predominately digital world.

“We must never lose sight of the fact that there will be people who find the fast pace of change difficult, and the services of our volunteers have never been needed more.

“I’d like to thank every single one of them for the valuable work they are doing in helping Dorset’s residents to get, and stay, online.”

The volunteer digital champions’ Get Online roadshow has been sponsored by Blandford-based Wessex Internet.

Its chief executive, Hector Gibson Fleming, said: “We are delighted to support this event and Dorset Council’s fantastic volunteer digital champions.

“As a Dorset-based rural broadband provider, we are proud to sponsor an initiative such as this, that is helping so many residents across the county.

“While we are rolling out our full fibre broadband network to local homes and businesses, we appreciate support is needed if everyone is to reap the rewards that a high-speed connection has to offer.

“We would urge anyone who wants to find out more about getting online and using the latest technology, to come along to one of these roadshow events or book an appointment with their nearest volunteer digital champion.”

The Get Online roadshow will be part of Sherborne’s popular Pack Fair on Monday, October 16, with a stall in The Digby Hall from 10am-12.30pm.

It then moves to Bridport on the Wednesday (October 18) for market day. The Get Online volunteers will be available in the town’s library from 10am-12.30pm.

On the Thursday (October 19), the Get Online crew will be at the Wool indoor market held at The D’urbeville Centre. They will be there from 10am-11.30m.

The Get Online roadshow finishes at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne on Friday (October 20) from 10am-12.30pm.

Anyone who cannot make the roadshow events can find out where their nearest volunteer digital champion service is by calling the Digital Hotline on 01305 221048.

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