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Plan launched to help 8,000 Wigan Borough children get online
Wednesday 25th February, 2015

Official figures reveal that more than 8,000 children in Wigan Borough don’t have access to the internet at home and another 44,000 adults have never been online.

The figures, which coincide with the launch of Wigan’s new digital strategy – Go On Wigan - show that many of the borough’s residents and local businesses, are in danger of being left behind in the new digital age.

To tackle the problem head on, Wigan Council, as part of its Deal, will launch a new strategy designed to help people in Wigan Borough get online. The strategy will officially launch at the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub Breakfast Series event next Wednesday (4th March).

Through this strategy, Wigan Council will support residents to get online by running a number of get online sessions and increase the availability of internet access in public spaces. To promote economic growth, it’s Business Engagement Team will work with local businesses to help them create their own website and explore the online marketing opportunities available.

By 2016, the local authority is aiming to increase the number of children online by 100 per cent and the number of adults by 25 per cent (8,000).

Local resident, Christine Witherington, 60, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, attended a Get Online course last year to help her get a job. She said:

“Before I attended a Get Online session I was really nervous about using technology and the internet. I went on a different course in 2012, and it knocked my confidence.

“The Get Online session was brilliant. The course instructors were really friendly and made it really easy for me. I feel much more confident now and I’m optimistic about getting a job.”

The event will bring local businesses together to learn about the new digital strategy for Wigan Borough and to find out more about the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband by the Greater Manchester Get Digital Faster project.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, said:

“We want to get residents, businesses, charities, schools, partners and many more to work together to achieve a truly digital Wigan Borough where no-one is excluded and everyone has the skills and confidence to get online.

“The proliferation of digital technology and devices mean that our shopping habits are changing. Nowadays a lot of consumers turn to the internet to find out more about services or to buy products. It’s essential then, that local businesses are marketing themselves online to ensure they stay ahead of the competition. Through this strategy we’ll help them to do that and in turn promote economic growth locally.”

Attendees will be encouraged to sign up to Go On Digital Charter – demonstrating their commitment to getting online.

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