Festival shows residents how to boost digital skills

NEARLY 1,000 people of all ages attended Tameside Technow Festival to explore and celebrate all things digital.

The festival, organised by Tameside Council, ran from August 9-14, with events at locations all over Tameside during the week.

There were almost 50 activities ranging from an I.T. coffee morning for complete beginners, to help with tracing family histories through digital archives, kids’ coding sessions, and a dinosaur trail through Hyde.

Digital workshops in and around Ashton Library.

The week of activities culminated with a host of sessions and workshops taking place at Ashton Library and in the market ground. Highlights included a film and photography workshop by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and a digital creative session hosted by Global Grooves.

The week long festival was designed to encourage and support residents who are less confident using online technology by reaching out to people who are digitally excluded. People who hadn’t used a computer or tablet before were encouraged to have a go, as well as enhancing existing skills and interest in digital activities and learning.

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council executive member for Lifelong Learning, said:

“We’re really grateful to local organisations and businesses for the support we’ve received when organising this event. They have helped us to come up with a variety of creative workshops to reach people who might not be able to get online.

Digital workshops in and around Ashton Library.

“We’ve done some great work here so far and will continue to reach out to all those who are digitally excluded in our borough to support them to access online services.”

Cllr Janet Cooper, lead member for digital exclusion on the Tameside Inequalities Reference Group, visited the event on Saturday and explained: “Digital exclusion is a serious problem, which has been made worse by coronavirus. There are many benefits to being online, and more services and offers are becoming digital first, meaning not being connected is limiting for people’s lives.”

Over the week themes highlighted included: how being online can improve employment opportunities, using apps and tools to improve health and wellbeing, and how using the internet can reduce social isolation.

The festival also launched Tameside Council’s TechKnow brand which includes recruiting  “TechKnow Buddies” who are digital champions  supporting residents to get online safely, as well as introducing residents to the numerous organisations in the borough who can help with accessing digital devices, learning the basics to get started, how to be cyber secure and more.

Anyone who wants more information about being a digital champion should email information.direct@tameside.gov.uk, visit any library or call 0161 342 2031.

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