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Get on by getting online: The last of the internet refuseniks encouraged to log-on
Monday 14th January, 2013

Thousands of people across Wigan Borough still don’t use the internet, Wigan Council can reveal.

Websites like Facebook, YouTube and eBay might be a part of everyday life for many but around 17 per cent of Wigan Borough’s population has never gone online. That’s more than 43,800 people.

Now Wigan Council is hoping to encourage the last of these internet refuseniks to log-on. Council officers will be out across the borough running free training sessions explaining how to use the World Wide Web and the benefits it can bring.

Getting online is going to become increasing important for many residents once the government’s welfare reforms come into place in April. Changes to the benefits system will mean people will have to register their claims online. If they don’t, they could miss out on money they are entitled to.

Cllr Chris Ready, Wigan Council cabinet member for communications, says: “Many people can’t imagine life without the internet. They shop, bank, book holidays, watch TV and talk to their friends online. We live in the age of internet but there are still thousands of people who never use it.

“There can be many complicated reasons for this including fear, a lack of access or even a dislike of modern technology. But, unfortunately, it’s never been more important to get online. For those who claim benefits, the government’s welfare changes mean it will soon be essential if they want to carry on claiming.

“In the next few weeks, council staff, alongside our colleagues at Wigan and Leigh Housing, will be out in communities offering free internet training sessions. I’d urge anybody who doesn’t use the web to go along.

“There’s nothing to fear. Our helpful staff will patiently explain the benefits of the internet and how best to use it. I reckon most people will end up kicking themselves they didn’t get online sooner.

“You don’t even need your own computer. You can access the web from a smart phone or a tablet device. And if you can’t get one of those, Wigan Council has up to 200 free to access computers available in our Life Centres and libraries.”

The free training sessions start in mid-January and run until April. They are being held in Abram, Ashton, Aspull, Atherton, Beech Hill, Golborne, Hag Fold, Higher Folds, Hindley, Ince, Leigh, Lowton, Marsh Green, Norley Hall, Orrell, Platt Bridge, Scholes, Shevington, Standish, Tyldesley, Westleigh, Wigan Town Centre, Worsley Hall and Worsley Mesnes.

To book a place on a course, ring 0800 389 7652, text 07797 806546 or Blackberry Messenger 2599A1C5.

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