Benefits of being online could be worth over £1000 per year to individuals

Members of the Highland Council Resources Committee have noted research showing the benefits of being online and the work being done by the Council to promote digital inclusion.

Research shows that across the UK 89% of adults have access to the internet at home, however 17.9% of people in the Highlands never use the internet.

The social value to people of being online could be worth over £1000 per year according to research. Benefits include access to online discounts, access to public and health services, ability to apply for jobs and to access social networks and information, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.

The Highland Council actively supports digital inclusion, poverty and social exclusion in a number of ways. It provides support to Citizens Online which provides strategic advice and research alongside digital training and skills for citizens, businesses and communities.

The Highland Council is one of four councils nationally to be awarded £112,000 from the Big Lottery Fund as part of a ‘test and learn pilot’. The project is part of a wider consortium called One Digital, led by Digital Unite and including SCVO, Age UK, AbilityNet and Affinity Sutton.

Chair of Resources Committee, Cllr Bill Fernie said: “The benefits of being online are clearly demonstrated and it is important that we understand the barriers to digital inclusion and support people to overcome these in order to take full advantage of the benefits the internet offers. It is really important that we continue to tackle poverty and social exclusion across the Highlands.

"Effective broadband coverage is essential throughout our communities, as well as access to digital skills and resources to help us address these issues and improve the lives of people. We will continue to support the excellent work to promote digital inclusion across the Highlands.”

26 Nov 2015
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