Race Online 2012 Looking For Volunteers

A new program in the UK aims to get millions of people online by the 2012 London Olympics. The program is the brainchild of Martha Lane Fox an English businesswoman. The program was launched in July 2011. In a statement at the time of the program’s launch Fox noted that there are 10 million people of working age in the UK who are not connected to the internet. Part of the program is to get IT companies to donate second hand computers and other equipment. Fox is also encouraging the 30 million internet users in the UK to help another person get online.

Mecca bingo clubs have played an important part in the project. Mecca bingo has at least one ‘digital champion’ at their 100 clubs throughout the UK. Each digital champ is issued a laptop to demonstrate the benefits of the internet to those interested. Digital champs will work one on one with players and teach basic computer skills such as how to use the internet and email. Mecca has a bit of self interest in the project because many new computer users may go online and play bingo online  at Mecca’s bingo site. Mecca’s oldest learner is Meg who is 105 years old. Meg has been playing at the Drumchapel Mecca club and is taking full advantage of the program. Meg is learning how to use email to stay in touch with her sons in Canada and is using the internet to study her family tree and watch clips on the popular video sharing site YouTube. Meg says the internet is great for “looking back and at the past and for places I used to go on holiday.  It brings back lovely memories”.   For Meg’s 105th birthday Mecca gave Meg a laptop.

Meg is just one of many that have been helped by the massive project. Martha Lane Fox the co founder of the project pointed out the importance of computer literacy and stated “We live in an age when ‘digital’ is a vital life skill – as basic as knowing how to read and write and 90% of new jobs require it. You’re 25% more likely to get work when you have web skills and once in work you’ll earn up to 10% more.  It’s simply unacceptable that so many people are still unable to benefit from what the web can offer.” The project is sure to benefit all participants and Mecca is sure to acquire some new online bingo players.

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