Reducing loneliness and social isolation – digitally

People who are not online and who are lonely and socially isolated face multiple barriers to participating and flourishing in the digital society. There are over 9 million people in the UK who are lonely and socially isolated and over 11.3 million people who don’t have basic online skills. Our town is surrounded by tech firms and yet there are so many people still unable to access the wealth of information about activities (and support to get to them) that they’d enjoy and would make such a difference to their lives.

-There are 50% of people who live with disabilities who are lonely on any given day and 25% of the adults who live with disabilities have never used the internet.
-According to Age UK, “Though figures show internet use among older people is increasing, this group are still less likely to use the internet than their younger counterparts, with nearly four million people over 65 having never used the internet.”

It is also important to understand the complex relationship between loneliness and digital exclusion and other issues such as poverty and inequality, lack of basic English language skills and health and wellbeing. It’s not a simple fix, but help is at hand.

Reading Community Learning Centre has just opened registration for their Beginners Computer class for women who have not used a computer before (Dowload flyer here). Classes start on 10 September at 09:30. For more information please contact Petra on 01189 595455 or email rclcinfo@yahoo.co.uk.

Reading Voluntary Action’s Get Online project provides drop-in sessions across Reading which are open to anyone wanting to use the internet, email, a new smartphone or tablet. For details, call RVA on 01189 372273.

Don’t forget to have a look on the Reading Services Guide for information on other support to get online in community venues.

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