As part of the Totally Online Barnsley campaign (TOBy), the town is playing host to the official Get online day flagship event, split across two UK online centre venues – Royston Community Learning Centre in the morning, and Barnsley Central Library in the afternoon.
They’ll be leading the way for more than 700 other Get online day events taking place at UK online centres nation-wide.
The aim of the day is to encourage thousands of off-line people to be a part of IT, and take their first steps onto the internet. For those already online, Get online day is a chance to find out more about how the internet can save them time, hassle and money – and a chance to pass IT on to other people they think could benefit from online life.
Launching Get online day in Barnsley on 23 October is special guest and new Champion for Digital Inclusion Martha Lane Fox. She said: “In the UK one in every four people still don’t use computers and the internet. Unfortunately it’s the people facing the toughest times who could actually benefit the most from what technology has to offer – from saving money to finding information that could make their lives easier and cheaper. Get online day is a great way for off-line people to take the plunge and get started.
“Barnsley is a fantastic example of how communities can benefit from being online and I’m looking forward to meeting some of those people whose lives have been transformed by the internet.”
Also attending the day will be Barnsley Council Chief Executive Phil Coppard and Helen Milner, Managing Director of UK online centres, the organisation behind Get online day. Both are members of Martha’s expert Digital Inclusion Taskforce, supporting her work as champion.
Phil Coppard said: “It’s great to have Martha here in Barnsley, and to make the town the focus of national efforts to get everyone everywhere enjoying what new technologies have to offer. We’ve set ourselves the ambitious target of getting everyone in the borough online by the time of the 2012 Olympics. Get online day will help us in that, and will help us make Barnsley the digital capital of the UK. I encourage everyone to get involved, and make Friday 23 October a day to remember.”
Helen Milner concluded: “Last year, 12,000 people took part in Get online day. This year we want to reach even more people in even more places, and we want Barnsley to lead the way. If you’ve never touched a computer before, then Get online day could be just the excuse you need. You’ll get loads of support, and with our new gameshow-style taster you’ll get a flavour of what you could do on the internet, and what the internet could do for you. If you’re already into computers, please make Get online day the day you get someone else online! Bring them in, help them onto the internet, or even hold your own Get online day celebration at home.”