The Get IT Together scheme, set to launch next week, will see £330,000 of funding from BT and a number of local organisations – including Plymouth Community Homes, the Plymouth Health Community and Jobcentre Plus – put into teaching online skills and building confidence in those new to the technology.
It will be run by the Citizens Online charity for the next three years. It will provide group sessions for thousands of people, covering topics from keeping secure online to searching for jobs, and aims to bring some of the 38,000 homes across the city without internet online.
Councillor Tudor Evans, the leader of Plymouth City Council, praised the scheme, saying: “We know that some people find computers intimidating, but we make sure they can get to grips with the basics at their own pace and see where it takes them.
“It could take them to new work, to considerable savings in heating their homes and using online health and welfare services. It’s the way the world is going and we want to take people with us, not leave them behind.”
The scheme is also part of BT’s wider Connected Society project, which has the goal of making sure nine in 10 people across the UK will have access to fibre broadband and services by 2020.
Paul Coles, regional programmes manager for BT, who was heavily involved in the Plymouth project, said: "Not being able to use the internet can leave people isolated and disadvantaged. We're committed to helping people in Plymouth get online and get the most out of the internet. This is the first exciting step in a journey to help people benefit from the online world.