A fortnight ago was Get Online Week, an initiative by the Be Connected Network.
Ten participants in Bingara and five participants in Warialda joined Derek Tinke from Be Connected and Nortec to learn about the number of people that are still not online.
“There are 2.5 million Australians over the age of 50, that are still not online and that equates to 26%,” said Derek. When you bring this back to regional areas, where there is 61% of the community aged over 50s, there are at least a few hundred people in that cohort in our region that don’t use the internet.”
Derek was pleased with the turnout of the seminars and with the participants, they worked through questions that focus on how to germinate new ideas and more ideas in the community.
“We had a really good turnout; I was happy with five and this morning I had ten people and we had five this afternoon so we had three times the number of people we were expecting so I’m stoked.”
“The answers to the questions I asked the group, I was blown away with the answers and their enthusiasm,” added Derek.
One of the participants in Warialda was Yvonne Ledingham who is a talented local paper maker artist in Warialda, was glad she attended the workshop.
“It is impressive that there were three high school teachers that attended the workshop in their own time, to further help their students,” said Mrs Ledingham. “It is always good to listen to an interesting and energetic presenter like Derek and to be with other people who are stimulating, younger and wanting to contribute by helping young people and our community.”
Derek spoke about his role with Nortec and developing close relationships in the community with locals and network partners. The network partners in the Gwydir Shire include the Bingara and Warialda Library, Warialda Historical Society, Bingara and Warialda Community College, Digital IQ – Bingara, GSC Broadband 4 Seniors Program and Naroo Frail Aged Hostel.
“It’s an awareness, I just want to help people get to where they need to go because I am interested in keeping these kinds of programs available in regional and rural areas because if people don’t engage with them, these programs will cease to exist.”
For more information about Get Online Week or to develop your technology skills, see one of the friendly staff at any of the above mentioned network partners or call 1300 795 897 or alternatively go online at https://beconnected.esafety.gov.au
If you would like to volunteer and be a Cowboy Elf or Cowboy Santa helper, please contact Be Connected on the above contact details or call Derek on 0473 027 030. Becoming a helper, you will be giving the gift of connecting someone in the community to their family by teaching them to use Facetime for example or you may teach someone a new hobby this Christmas.
It is effectively helping local businesses that may not necessarily be online or maximising their market potential, in person and online, and by getting them online this Christmas, it is a gift this festive season.