Nairn community project wins national award

Judges recognise BT-backed project in Nairn where school children helped older people get online 
A BT-supported digital inclusion project in Nairn has won national recognition for a scheme which saw local school-children help older people to get online. 

The Get IT Together project in the Highland town of Nairn was named the overall winner in this year’s Digital Unite Spring Online Best Event Awards, which celebrate outstanding work by local volunteers and organisations. 

Nairn’s winning project involved students from Nairn Academy helping learners to use the internet, set up e-mail accounts, find out more about their hobbies and research their family trees online. 

Hundreds of organisations took part in Spring Online, holding free digital taster events across the UK to encourage local people – particularly older people – to take their first steps with digital technology. Nine organisations around the UK were recognised in the Awards, run by the digital inclusion charity Digital Unite. 

Nairn Get IT Together project co-ordinator Brigitte Vallance accepted the top award from TV celebrity Angela Rippon during an awards ceremony at the City Hall in London. 

Brigitte said: “We were recognised for training sessions we launched to provide people with a supportive place to meet on a regular basis to learn more about the internet. The first was held as part of Spring Online Week, and was an immediate success. 

“Learners told us how they were able to apply what they’d learnt to practical situations. One lady mentioned she went to the Post Office to tax her car but forgot a necessary document. She went home, booted up her tablet and taxed the car in less than five minutes. Others told us that they liked the classes as they could ask questions without feeling silly in a relaxed and supportive environment.” 

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Get IT Together project in Nairn has won this award, reflecting their hard work. BT is delighted to support projects like this one, helping people to enjoy the benefits of being online. As we roll our super-fast broadband across Scotland more communities will be able to benefit from faster internet connections.” 

Dick Stroud of Digital Unite said: “A fantastic range of individuals and organisations were involved in the campaign this year. It’s clear that Spring Online remains as vital as ever to bridge the digital divide, to help people make the most of technology and enhance their daily lives.” 

Get IT Together in Nairn is supported by BT’s Better Future Connected Society programme, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Citizens Online. Connected Society is BT’s commitment to help people around the world gain the access skills motivation and confidence they need to get connected. 

The Get IT together programme has co-ordinators in projects across the UK and has now helped more than 16,000 people, through its courses, to gain confidence and get connected. These locally-run short courses mainly support older people, people with disabilities or unemployed people. 

John Fisher, chief executive of Citizens Online, concluded: “The local co-ordinators work so hard to support people new to the internet and this is well-deserved recognition for their efforts. Their projects make such a difference on the ground.” 
For more information visit www.digitalunite.com/spring-online 


Notes to editors 
Better Future is BT’s commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business – without it costing the earth. Better Future embeds responsible and sustainable business practice to build real growth and is rooted in what BT does best – bringing together our networks and technology with the expertise of our people to make a better world. Our Better Future programme focuses on three areas, connecting people digitally (Connected Society), using our skills and technology to help society support good causes (Improving Lives), and ensuring BT makes a net positive contribution to the environment (Net Good). For more information see www.bt.com/betterfuture 

BT develops products and services to help everyone use technology, regardless of their 
age, background or ability. Collaboration with external disability experts and 
other organisations helps BT to better understand the issues our customers face, 
and improves our ability to respond.