“Silver Surfer” computer tutors …

The government wants thousands of people over 50 to help others get online and teach them how to use the internet, especially those aged over 65.

In a new report just released by a government think tank, The Policy Exchange, the recommendation is that about 1,000 older people could be paid up to £30,000 a year to be “silver sidekicks” and teach other people over 50 how they can use the internet and the benefits to be had by regular use.

There are 14.8 million people over the age of 50 in the UK who are online and use the internet regularly but 5.4 million people aged over 65 don’t use the internet or haven’t got access to it.

The suggested scheme could save the taxpayer about £75 million per annum by allowing the government to channel shift many functions currently carried out offline like pensions payments into online channels. It would also make it easier for those elderly pensioners to receive their money rather than have the trouble of travelling to their local post office to receive it and also to make other payments on the web.

The scheme is part of a major drive by the government to shift their own work online in order to reduce costs and make government programmes more efficient.

The think tanks calculation is that 1,000 full time internet and technology trainers could visit and teach about 4.5 million people over 65 how to use the internet. If they could enable between 500,000 to 750,000 of them to use the internet then this would enable the government to save between £170 million and £225 million over five years and enable people use the web to organise their benefits and pensions online.

The scheme of paying for the 1,000 teachers would cost £150 million over 5 years and so there would be an actual saving of approximately £75 million.

Sarah Fink who wrote the report said “It’s important that this network is made up of people who are able to relate to the particular needs of someone who have never used the internet before which is why the government should encourage “silver surfers” to become “silver sidekicks”

Silverhairs spoke to Sarah about this proposal which we fully endorse and we would like to hear what your views are on it. For more information please see this link: 

Author: Sarah Fink, Research Fellow, Digital Government Unit




We have had a huge response from people expressing an interest in becoming a Silver sidekick … we are not sure how long this new research initiative will take to become a reality:  in the meantime it may be worth having a look at the following website .  There are some similar initiatives here that are already up and running and you may be able to get involved now.



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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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