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Bexley company awarded Lottery funding to further help residents learn digital skills

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 23 April 2018

The computer course at Erith Veterans Clubs. Picture: Learning Digital

The computer course at Erith Veterans Clubs. Picture: Learning Digital

Archant

After receiving a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Awards For All programme, digital training provider Learning Digital has been able to purchase much-needed computer equipment to help teach senior citizens valuable computer skills.

Martin Hayes with seniorleader Dorothy Clark. Picture: Learning DigitalMartin Hayes with seniorleader Dorothy Clark. Picture: Learning Digital

The company, which helps residents in the borough gain essential digital skills and give them access to the internet and computer equipment, has been supporting locals for the past two years.

Thanks to the grant, the group can now provide laptops, smart boards, projectors and camera equipment, allowing it to take classes to where they are most needed in the borough.

Founder Martin Hayes said: “We used to use a community centre which didn’t have any equipment, so people had to bring their own which was difficult because it’s hard to teach certain things when everyone is using different laptops.

“It’s important to be teaching these skills because a lack of them can really lead to isolation, so we are trying to reach out to those people who face these disadvantages.”

Joan King winning an online quiz at Hurst Road community centre. Picture: Learning DigitalJoan King winning an online quiz at Hurst Road community centre. Picture: Learning Digital

Having worked as an IT support volunteer for 15 years, Mr Hayes came up with the idea of setting up a digital skills company while working as a computer buddy for Bexley libraries.

He noticed that a lot of people using the computer systems lacked very basic IT skills, and realised that they needed support more suited to their needs and abilities.

Mr Hayes later studied for a teaching qualification before starting a computer help group the following year.

He said that the basic courses the company offers helps about 30 people each time they are run, and one of the projects benefitting from the grant is a digital inclusion computer course, aimed at senior computer users.

He added: “We are running this course throughout the year at Erith Veterans Club.

“The grant has made such a huge difference and we aim to help all those in the borough who are excluded by lack of digital skills, as it can be a huge problem, especially in Bexley.

“We can now help out more people with better equipment which they do not need to provide themselves anymore.”

To get in touch with Mr Hayes contact him at martin.hayes@learningdigital.uk.

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