Leeds ,
14
October
2019
|
15:04
Europe/London

Libraries get Leeds online

Leeds Libraries is running special free events this week to inspire people to learn digital skills during Get Online Week 2019, a national initiative encouraging people to take part in the digital world.

From 14-20 October, you can get free expert IT advice at a Techy Tea Party, try virtual reality, experiment with digital storytelling or learn the secrets of smartphones.

The city’s first Digital Health Hub also launches on 17 October at Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours. It will offer valuable support to access online NHS services.

With 500 public access computers available through the city’s 34 libraries and a skilled staff team, the library service is well placed to support residents to get online and learn new skills.

The service leads the city’s 100% Digital Leeds campaign, one of the UK’s most successful digital inclusion initiatives. During the last 12 months alone:

  • 2,461 people completed 13,864 online courses at Leeds Libraries and partners
  • 66 organisations borrowed 549 tablets through Leeds Libraries’ award-winning tablet lending scheme, the biggest of its kind in the UK
  • 797 digital champion volunteers have been trained to support digitally excluded people

This work has a huge impact on local people. By embedding technology in support work with the isolated elderly, Leeds Irish Health and Homes saw clients’ memory and mood improve, as well as their ability to use online services. Tablet loans and digital training for staff have ensured that homeless 16 to 24-year-olds staying in Seacole Scheme emergency accommodation are less isolated, and offer vital independence and opportunities.

Andrea Ellison, Chief Librarian: “Across Leeds tens of thousands of adults still lack basic digital skills. We hope that Get Online Week encourages more previously digitally excluded people to start their digital journey at Leeds Libraries. We offer a fantastic range of free support for people of all ages and experience levels – from children’s coding clubs to introductions to using a computer.”

Councillor James Lewis, Executive Member for Resources: “Leeds Libraries is pioneering new approaches to ensure that all our communities have access to IT equipment and training. The 100% Digital Leeds programme works with over 100 partners, reaching thousands of people across the city. Residents are enjoying innovative schemes like TechMums, tablet lending and the 100% Digital Leeds: Digital Inclusion Fund.”

Over 20 Leeds Libraries settings run drop-in learning sessions on everything from basic IT skills and using the internet to job searching and online courses. Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/learning

For media enquiries please contact:

Jen Boyle,

Senior Communications Officer,

Leeds City Council

0113 378 7101 / Jennifer.boyle@leeds.gov.uk

Notes to editors

100% Digital Leeds is a cross-sector collaboration aiming to ensure that everyone in the city has the digital skills they need. Across Leeds, 90,000 adults still lack the basic digital skills to participate in today’s world. This successful partnership between Leeds City Council and Good Things Foundation helps organisations across the city support people to get to grips with digital. Visit https://digitalinclusionleeds.com

Get Online WeekOver 5 million people in the UK have never been online, and 11.9 million lack essential digital skills to navigate life and work, according to a 2019 Office of National Statistics survey. Get Online Week is a national initiative encouraging people to take part in the digital world through thousands of events across the UK. View the Leeds Libraries Get Online Week programme at: https://digitalinclusionleeds.com/2019/10/01/get-online-week-2019

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses for beginners, helping you develop digital skills to make the most of the online world. Online Centres use the Learn My Way online courses to support and teach computer beginners. Over 5000 centres are based all around the country, providing friendly, expert guidance for those who need help with computers. Visit www.learnmyway.com