UK Online Centres

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UK online centres is a UK-based organisation which helps communities tackle social and digital exclusion.

UK online centres coordinates a network of 5000 community partners, who provide free or low-cost access to computers and the internet. The organisation also provide training and support to hundreds of volunteers, centre staff and community leaders, helping them to work within their own communities.

Over 1 million people [1]have been helped to improve their skills through UK online centres to date, with many learners also going on to further learning and increased employment opportunities.[2][3] [4]

In 2011 the management of the UK online centres network was taken over by OCF, a staff-owned mutual and social enterprise formed by the Sheffield-based team previously managing the UK online centres contract on behalf of Ufi Ltd. [5] In July 2013, Online Centres Foundation became known as Tinder Foundation.

Tinder Foundation Chief Executive, Helen Milner, was inducted into the BIMA Digital Hall of Fame in 2012 alongside Sir Tim Berners Lee, Stephen Fry, and others noted for their work in the digital arena. [6]

Online learning[edit]

In April 2011, UK online centres launched a brand new learning platform Go ON, which was renamed Learn my way in 2012 (http://www.learnmyway.com/). The website was developed by UK online centres with the aim of bringing together all of the resources on the market for internet beginners, including those developed specifically by UK online centres, and from other providers including the BBC and Digital Unite.

The new website contains four main sections:

Get ready, to tackle those basic literacy and numeracy skills before tackling any online skills.

Get started, which includes fun engagement resources to help get first time learners started.

Online basics, the course that was developed in conjunction with BIS and Becta to provide learners with all of the skills they need to get started with computers and the internet.

Learn more, which includes a number of popular courses including Facebook and socialising online, Shopping online and Using a computer.

What next, which contains resources to help learners progress, including details on volunteering opportunities.

myguide, the original learning platform which was developed by UK online centres ceased to exist in September 2011. The most popular courses that existed on myguide have been moved across to the new learning platform.

Get online week[edit]

Get online week is an annual national campaign run by UK online centres, which helps tens of thousands of people to improve their computer and internet skills each year.

In 2010, UK online centres partnered with many organisations to run Get online week, including the BBC, Race Online 2012, Post Offices, BT, Three Mobile, Google, Sky, and Facebook, getting nearly 80,000 people started with computers and the internet.

In 2011 Get online week followed a “Give an hour” theme, encouraging those with digital skills to help others.

Get online week 2014 will take place between 13-19 October.

Digital Inclusion Statistics[edit]

There are currently 7.82 million people who have never used computers [7] and the internet, and an estimated 14.5 million who don't have the skills to make the most of what the internet has to offer. These people are likely to be socially excluded as well as lacking in online skills. UK online centres, along with their partners, are aiming to combat this digital and social exclusion.

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