SHEFFIELD, England, December 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
A team of Plusnet volunteers have been busy helping out at several events across Sheffield as part of a UK campaign run by Race Online 2012, which aims to help offline residents take their first steps with computers and the Internet. In Sheffield alone, there are an estimated 95,000 residents* without Internet access.
Over 50 events were held throughout the City, at venues including Sheffield Town Hall, The Bankers Draft pub on Market Place, High Storrs School and Sheffield United Football Club, with volunteers from UK online centres, Heeley Development Trust, Plusnet and Sheffield University all assisting at the events.
The events catered for a wide range of people including those looking for work, wanting to get in touch with relatives all across the world or just wanting to learn more about the things they love. Betty Tilbrooke, 78, was one visitor who got online for the first time at the event held at Sheffield Town Hall. She said: "I'm sick of calling myself the invisible person because everything that's interesting is on 'www'. If I can do this, I can book my cinema and train tickets, and will even be able to order my groceries online if the bad weather comes again this winter. My daughter and son have been saying "Get online Mum!" for ages. If you don't learn about computers, you're going to be left behind."
Plusnet, the broadband company with headquarters based in Sheffield, had 25 volunteers helping out at various events round the city centre. Katy Lomax, Head of Marketing at Plusnet, volunteered at the session held on Friday at the Bankers Draft in Sheffield City Centre. She said: "Even as someone used to being online, it's not until you show someone the very basics of the Internet again that you realise how much it has impacted your own life. It's really important that people who do know how to use it can help those who can't, because without using the internet there is so much that you can't do."
Plusnet has sponsored the 'Go ON Sheffield' campaign and donated fifty free broadband packages so some of the new online converts can try their new found skills at home. The fifty packages will be given to those who could benefit the most from getting online at home with the winners being presented with their prizes at a celebration event being held at Sheffield United Football Club. The celebration event will also provide an opportunity to thank all of the volunteers who gave their time during 'Go ON Sheffield'.
Helen Milner, Managing Director of UK online centres said: "'Go ON Sheffield' has been a really great way for us to engage with people in the locations they feel comfortable. The people that aren't currently online are often resistant to formal learning environments so, by bringing the learning to them - in pubs, at football clubs and wherever they feel at home - we can break down these barriers and show them the real benefits being online can bring them.
"We wouldn't have been able to run a campaign as big as this without the volunteers who came from all over the City, and they really made the campaign what it was. By working with Heeley Development Trust and volunteers from Plusnet, Sheffield University and all over, it really felt like we were bringing the city together for a really positive cause."
Notes to Editors:
*ONS report on Internet Access, August 2010.
Plusnet has been based in Sheffield since its inception in 1997 and provides residential and business broadband across the UK.
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