A campaign to help get people in Blackpool to go online is in the town centre all week.
The ‘Go On Blackpool’ campaign, being run by Blackpool Council and digital charity Go On, hopes to help more people across the town to embrace computers and the internet.
Throughout the week, a digital bus with information, support and courses designed to help people get started on the internet will take up residence on St John’s Square.
As part of the campaign, Blackpool Council has signed up to a Digital Skills Charter, which commits the authority to help every individual, small or medium business and charity to get online and increase their digital skills.
Signing the charter will also enable the town to access support from the Go On charity to promote digital events, as well as accessing extra help from the private sector to get more people and companies online, with Argos, the Post Office and Lloyds Bank already expressing an interest.
An estimated one million people in the North West still lack basic digital skills such as sending an email, while more than a third of charities and small businesses in region are also missing out on the benefits of the internet, according to official figures. In Blackpool, the problem is thought to be even worse, with 17 per cent of Blackpool residents never having been online, compared to 13 per cent nationally.
For people already familiar with the digital world, the campaign will also be recruiting specialist digital champions from the area, who can help other people and businesses to find out about the internet.
Coun Fred Jackson (pictured), Blackpool Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for IT and the town’s digital champion, said: “It can be a daunting step to get online for the first time.”