Gifted a gadget this Christmas? Free help is available
If you have been gifted a computer or gadget over Christmas and do not know anyone with the time, knowledge or patience to teach you, then help is at hand.
There are over 50 Digital Champions volunteering in Dorset libraries to help people with computers, tablets, phones and more. Most have gained experience from their professional careers.
The programme has improved the skills of 80 new learners per month and they are beginning to tell of their experiences, encouraging others to attend.
It is estimated that 150,000 people in Dorset lack basic digital skills. The Superfast Dorset team want to close the gap between those frequently online and those without basic knowledge.
Not everybody has access or the desire to use computers, but attending a session may spark an interest. Many learners have bought a tablet or similar, because of the programme.
Carol and Allan Lander in Swanage, Dorset, were helped by Simon Parvin, Digital Champion based in Swanage. They attended as a couple at the library. Carol said: “Simon was very patient and responded to my needs. He explained things fully,”
“My friend recently bought a new smartphone, I told her to go and see Simon. We were both impressed with his patience. It was incredible. Before, I could get as far as putting the power plug in and now I no longer fear computers crashing in front of me.”
Allan had some knowledge of computers. He wanted to know about PayPal specifically, an online payments system. It supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to cheques.
Digital Champion Simon said: “So much in life now depends on using computers, I am pleased to be able to help people to get going, and to solve their many and varied problems. It is a vital service and good to see people gain experience and confidence with their computing skills.”
People without a device can learn free of charge on the library facilities. The sessions are held in a friendly environment and you go at your own pace.
Some Dorset residents say they feel excluded if they are offline and that learning with a Digital Champion boosts their confidence and helps them stay safe and independent.
Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Education, Learning and Skills said: “It is fantastic that we have so many volunteers keen to share their knowledge of digital technology. Many services, including those of Dorset County Council, are moving online and people without access are at risk of feeling left behind. Learning these skills can save you time and money and we want everyone to be included if they choose to”
Thanks to the Superfast Dorset team it is easy to find your nearest volunteer. Call Dorset’s Digital Champion helpline on 01305 221048 and we’ll answer any questions about the support available. All our help is free.
Alternatively, you can look at sessions on the adult care directory: https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/computer-help-directory
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Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is pleased to announce that all 17 community and voluntary sector groups and organisations, which applied to the second round of council funding last year, have been successful in gaining a grant.
Grant decisions were made by a cross-political party panel that comprised the council’s Social Inclusion Brief Holder Cllr Jon Orrell, and Group Leaders of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council – Cllr Jeff Cant, Cllr Colin Huckle and Cllr Gill Taylor.
Priority was given to support for young people, and groups that operate in the areas of most need – Chapelhay and Rodwell, Littlemoor, Melcombe Regis, Underhill and Westham.
The £50,000 fund was oversubscribed and this is a testament to the high level of community and voluntary sector activity in the Borough. This meant that not all groups received the full amount applied for but the council was able to fund at least one or more elements of the projects submitted.Supported projects include:
• Extension to facilities and supported entry at a local skatepark
• Funding for gloves and a boxing ring for young people
• Young people supporting access to Citizens Advice services
• Music making to support confidence making and self-esteem.
• A series of 12 cooking and budgeting workshops in the Park District
• A community café providing support to veterans and the wider community
• Mental health projects in Chapelhay & Rodwell, Melcombe Regis and Portland
• As One Theatre Group
• Dorset Mind
• Friendly Food Club
• Portland Museum
• Portland Rocks
• Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire
• Royal Manor Theatre Company
• Steps Youth Club
• The Bus Shelter, Dorset
• The Grey Ranks Boxing Club
• The Samaritans
• The Veterans Hub
• Weymouth Basketball Club
• Weymouth North Cub Scouts
• Weymouth Skate Park Association
• Weymouth & Portland Citizens Advice
• Xchange Project, Weymouth Family Church
Cllr Jon Orrell, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Briefholder for Social Inclusion, said; “The council recognises the important role of local groups through their work, practical support and activities, and is keen to support projects that provide real benefits for residents of the Borough. The Grants Panel has supported a wide range of projects and activities that truly benefit communities across the Borough.”
Cllr Colin Huckle, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Briefholder for Transport and Infrastructure, said; “The multi-party grants panel was particularly delighted to provide support to projects for young people in the Borough, namely The Steps Youth Club, The Front Skate Park, the Xchange Youth Club in Melcombe Regis and Dorset Mind’s project for LGBT young people on Portland.”
Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Briefholder for Housing, said; “The council recognises the invaluable role of community and voluntary groups in Weymouth and Portland and is proud to support their work with the most vulnerable in our communities. I would like to especially mention the work of The Bus Shelter in supporting homeless people throughout the year and particularly at this time when temperatures are very low at night and the invaluable work undertaken by The Veterans Hub in supporting veterans and their families.”
For further information contact: Jane Nicklen, Community Planning & Development Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (01305) 252358
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Councillors will soon look at detailed proposals for the set-up of Weymouth Town Council.Weymouth Beach
Members of Weymouth’s Shadow Town Council are set to meet on Wednesday 10 January. At the meeting they will consider a report setting out which assets and services the new town council could be responsible for when it launches in April.
The report will also contain a draft budget for the new council.
The draft budget will show how much the new council will need to spend to maintain assets and keep services running.
A copy of the report will be added to the agenda as a supplement, in advance of the meeting. See the agenda.
Cllr Alison Reed, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council briefholder for Corporate Affairs and Continuous Improvement and Chair of the Shadow Management Committee said:
“We are getting closer to finalising what services Weymouth Town Council will provide.
“No final decisions are will be made at this meeting but the feedback from the shadow town councillors will be taken into account as the proposals are considered by the Shadow Dorset Council Executive Committee and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council later this month.”Next steps
The Shadow Dorset Council Executive Committee will consider the proposals at its next meeting on Friday 14 January 2019. The final decision about which assets and services will transfer to the new town council will be made at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s Full Council meeting on Thursday 17 January 2019.