Digital technology has become an essential part of everyday life, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones, browse the internet, shop online, and use online banking. However, the more vulnerable and less digitally aware are being left behind.
We want to share our digital knowledge to help residents learn, grow and discover digitally.
Whether you're a complete novice and want to start with the basics, can do a little but want to know more, or just need advice on how to help others, we're here to support you.
This includes help with:
- Accessing the internet and email
- Keeping in touch with your friends and family
- Managing your money
- Searching for jobs and completing online applications
- Learning more about the things that interest you
- Registering for MyAccount
- Supporting your less digitally confident friends, family or neighbours.
How can we support you?
TechMate Tea Parties
Visit one of our TechMate Tea Parties - a free drop-in session for anyone looking for support with basic digital skills. Ideal for beginners and no need to book, just turn up.
The Tea Parties will be attended by TechMate volunteers. Bring your own device or one can be provided to introduce you to the world of digital. Where and when:
- Wigan Library, Wigan Life Centre, The Wiend, Wigan, WN1 1NH, first Monday of the month 11:30am-1pm
- Leigh Library, Civic Square, Market Street, Leigh, WN7 1EB, second Tuesday of the month 12pm-1:30pm
- Fifteens @ Standish, 73 High St, Standish, Wigan WN6 0HD, third Wednesday of the month 10am-11am
- Ashton Library, Wigan Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, WN4 9BH, fourth Thursday of the month 1:30pm-3pm
- Shevington Methodist Church, Gathurst Lane, Shevington, Wigan WN6 8HA, every Friday 10:30am-12pm
TechMates - Telephone support to get online
TechMates is a digital mentor service run by our volunteers and council staff.
It was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to prevent isolation for our most vulnerable residents.
We provide one-to-one basic digital support over the telephone to those residents who are unable to leave their homes. We can help you use digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, computers or laptops so you can build your digital confidence.
To connect with one of our TechMates all you need to do is:
Here's what Dorothy had to say about her experience with TechMates...
Being without my iPad was a big worry to me, I felt socially isolated and it was making me anxious. I'm lost without it as I find using FaceTime on my iPad allows me to lip read. When you live on your own, it's so important to have contact with the outside world, so I want to thank my TechMates Paul, Tracey and Sam. It was like my prayers were being answered. The help I've received and the understanding and kindness they've shown me has given me the confidence I thought I'd lost.
Volunteer to be a TechMate
As a TechMate, you'll help transform the lives of some of the borough’s most in need residents, while adding something invaluable to your CV.
Help someone you know get online
If you're helping a member of your community get online, we encourage you to offer digital support over the phone. Top tips to remember:
- Take things at a steady pace - Check out step by step online guides such as Citizen Online (external link) or Digital Unite (external link)
- Use descriptive language when explaining things - For example, try to describe where a learner needs to click on a screen and avoid using technical jargon
- Practice what has been learned - For example, after going through the basics of making a video why not try making and receiving calls
- Be patient - The biggest barrier to learning digital skills is confidence. Reassure them that making mistakes is ok and it’s how we all learn.
Digital support in your local library
We offer free access to computers and WiFi in Wigan Libraries - find your nearest library and view opening times.
Our specially trained staff can help you learn basic digital skills, including how to:
- Use mobile devices and laptops
- Get online
- Access council and health care services
- Apply for benefits and work.
Digital Communities Partnership
We work with a number of local community organisations and charities across the borough to deliver a wide range of courses and learning opportunities to our residents for all ages.