Tinder Foundation launches Be Online campaign

Thousands of events to take place throughout the UK to encourage people to take advantage of the internet

Thousands of events will be taking place up and down the UK over the next week, as the Tinder Foundation encourages people to embrace the internet via its Be Online campaign.

The campaign will run from 23 February to 8 March 2015 and aims to show people the advantages of being online.

Be Online sessions will be taking place in cafes and pubs, job centres, health centres, libraries and church halls throughout the UK.

Tinder Foundation estimates there are 10.5 million people in the UK who lack basic digital skills and are therefore being excluded from opportunities, services and savings. On average, people online are £440 a year better off than those offline and are expected to earn 3-10% more money.

The not-for-profit organisation claims digital skills have a dramatic impact on health and wellbeing by reducing isolation and improving access to health and medical services.

Betty, 66, from Doncaster, said she is happier and healthier since she’s been using internet. She has discovered how she can keep up with family and keep on top of a serious health condition.

“I found that I was spending a lot of time at home on my own, but I kept hearing from friends and family that the internet could help me keep in touch with people, so I invested in my own laptop," she said. 

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"I knew that being online my stop me feeling quite so isolated but what I didn’t know was that I could even use it for health things.”

Betty has post-polio syndrome, having suffered from the disease as a child. Since learning to use the internet, she is now making her appointments online, ordering repeat prescriptions and reading up on her condition before she heads to the surgery.

“I had no idea just how much information was on the internet. I did a search for post-polio syndrome and found things that no doctor had ever told me. Now that I can check symptoms online, it means I don’t feel the need to run off to the doctor at every slight cough or a headache," she said. 

"Considering everything, I feel great. I’m saving my energy, saving time – and my doctor's time – and I’m more in control of my health than I ever have been before. That means a lot to me.”

Tinder Foundation chief executive Helen Milner said Be Online is a chance for more elderly people to see how the internet could help them live life.

"It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what you’re interested in, it’s our job over the next two weeks to help you be online," she said.

“Our event holders will be out and about in local communities spreading the word about the internet and helping people get to grips with the barriers that stop them using it – whether that’s access, skills, expense, safety fears, or the feeling it’s just not relevant to them. 

"Together, I know we can help more people explore the online world, and make up their own minds about it."

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