Someone said to me today that they can see I’m ‘very passionate and enthusiastic about supporting people to get online’. On reflection, I think yes, I am. But why? I took a moment to think about it and I think it’s because I’m a big advocate for sharing opportunities, and I think the online world opens us up to opportunities we may not have had previously.

If I fancy learning something new, the options are endless. Over the pandemic, I took my sink apart to clear a blockage with the help of a lovely man off YouTube. I socialise on chats and video calls and everything in between. My life without being online would be so much harder. I can look for the best deals for shopping online, whilst having a cuppa on the sofa.

But, ‘getting online’ isn’t just about the internet, for me it’s much more. Every home appliance we buy seems to have an app: the TV has apps, I use apps for my home security, it means my family can check my CCTV if I’m away, if my alarm goes off it alerts my best friend. Alexa is a font of knowledge and really helpful for school homework. She’s also great for cooking tips and a timer so I don’t burn things (even though I still do). My son and I play online games, even though I’m still convinced he cheats at online snakes and ladders, but it’s also lovely watching him FaceTime his Grandma and Grandad.

I know many people are overwhelmed by the digital world and even those of us that submerge ourselves in it still don’t know everything and still get those baffled moments. But I do believe when we know the art of the possible it can open us up to endless opportunities. And if that means for you just one change, but it helps to make your life easier, or it helps you to get in touch with old friends or family who live too far away for regular visits, or it helps you do an online course or online shopping or banking, then I am so proud to work with people who want to help you do just that.

DigiKnow is about informal learning and support. It’s about people sharing their knowledge and getting that warm feeling from helping others. It’s about conversations to see what’s out there that might help you. It’s about my 70-year-old neighbour showing me the DIY YouTube channels to follow and me showing him how to take a photo of a document on his phone and attach it to an email whilst we had a cuppa and a chat over the fence.

We are so lucky in Stockport. We get to work with passionate people who all want to help, they want to show you what they do, and how it’s helped them, in the hope it can help you too. There’s a DigiKnow device lending library if you don’t have a device but would like to give it a try, a helpline, and a lot of willingness to help. You can even buy refurbished devices at highly discounted rates.

During Get Online Week next week, we’re all pulling together to offer DigiKnow support at the One Stockport Hub and there’s a full calendar of sessions on our website. Please spread the word to anyone needing help getting online or with digital skills. It’s very informal, they can also drop in Monday 18th to Saturday 23rd October 9 am to 4 pm and bring in any devices they need help with using too.

And please pop in to see us if you’d like to find out more about DigiKnow and how you or your organisation could be part of it. You never know, it could open up new opportunities for you.

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