Free support for over 50s to get online

Civil servant Robert Browne provides a Silver Surfers’ Day IT training session to Sandra Eames from Belfast at Ormeau Road library

HUNDREDS of business volunteers are poised and ready to provide free IT taster sessions, helping people over the age of 50 to get to grips with the internet, email, Skype and social media, at an event on Thursday May 4.

Located in 25 libraries across the north, Silver Surfers' Day is being organised by Business in the Community in partnership with the Department of Finance, and supported by Libraries NI.

Hilary Hanberry, communities manager for Business in the Community, said: “In today's digital world it can seem as though everything has moved online. The shift to online services, in particular, has changed the way in which we live, work and socialise, but there are still many people who aren't benefiting from the digital revolution.

“We all know someone who isn't online. It might be your mum or dad, your gran, your next door neighbour or even a friend. If so, please encourage them to come along to a Silver Surfers' Day training session.

"They will be hosted in local libraries across Northern Ireland and they are easy to book – all they have to do is contact your local library and a free training session will be organised."

She added: “All of our training sessions are taken by friendly volunteers who are passionate about sharing their skills. They are all very patient, and get a real sense of reward from helping others.

"We've had great feedback from participants in previous years who found the sessions very worthwhile, and I'd encourage anyone who is keen to find out more about the internet to come along.”

Paul Wickens, chief executive of enterprise shared services in the Department of Finance, adds: “I'm delighted the campaign is being supported in this proactive way by Business in the Community. Silver Surfers' Day as part of Spring Online Week forms part of our ‘Go ON NI' programme which aims to encourage as many people as possible to go online, address any barriers, promote the benefits of accessing the Internet, and highlight the convenience of online public services.”

Helen Osborn, acting chief executive of Libraries NI, said: “Some 25 libraries are involved and we hope record numbers of people will enjoy the day and avail of the computer facilities with free broadband and wi-fi.”

To book a free place contact your local library or call the Libraries NI Customer Services Line on 0345 4504580. For more information visit


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