Go On Line Digital Initiative

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The 7th National Digital Conference was held on the 30th and 31st May 2012 where over 1,000 delegates from across the UK explored the policy, leadership, innovation and collective action needed to support an inclusive and enterprising digital nation.

As the UK Government’s plans for ‘digital by default’ services gather pace this year,, ND2012 offered an opportunity to explore how every individual and every organisation can be supported to get online and benefit from technology. Currently up to 8 million people do not have access to the Internet or the skills to use it and many of these are age over 50. In addition to AgeUK, many organisations which support the Go On initiative attended the conference and displayed their stands. They included The Post Office, LloydsTSB and Halifax Banks and Ability net, who ran workshops. In addition there were many exhibitors, all of who were supporting the philosophy of Go On (getting everyone on line)

Speakers were Lord Young (Prime Minister’s advisor on enterprise), plus many from industry and commerce, all expressing concern about how many people may be at a disadvantage in the future if they are not on the internet. The Post Office speaker was particularly concerned about the delivery of benefits as the Government moved towards these being delivered online rather than at the diminishing number of Post Offices.

Keith Paterson the founder of Silverhairs was pleasantly surprised to receive another award (to accompany the one as Digital Champion 2012 given in January by AgeUK). This time the award was as a Digital Leader. A proud Keith said

“I feel sure there are many people who deserve honours such as this. I can only think that the path I have been pursuing for the last ten years with my website at www.silverhairs.co.uk, to assist mainly older people with their computer problems, happened to coincide with the aims of this  conference”

Keith Paterson (80) has developed the Silverhairs.co.uk website, written a book “Hints and Tips for Silver Surfers” and is an accredited trainer with Ability Net’s IT Can Help scheme, which offers free help to disabled people on computer matters.

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I am 81 years old and am passionate about computers, technology and the Internet and was the original founder of Silverhairs. I was Age UK's joint Internet Champion in 2012, and have spent the last 15 years, helping others to get up and running on computers. I was pleased, this year, to have been awarded an MBE for my voluntary work in this respect. I am profoundly deaf these days but get by with a cochlear implant. But computing puts me on a level playing field and keeping up with the technology is an excellent way to exercise the grey matter !

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