Lane Fox plans 100,000 volunteers to move offline adults online
Digital Inclusion Champion Martha Lane Fox has revealed plans to get the nine million digitally excluded adults in the UK online. The plans, which form part of Lane Fox’s Race Online 2012 campaign, include a local network of 100,000 volunteers who will help support the offline adults in getting started with the internet.
The network is the UK’s biggest ever cross-sector volunteer force, according to a statement from prime minister David Cameron, who urged even more members of the public to get involved.
“By supporting this vital campaign we really can become the first nation in the world to get everyone online and ensure that something the vast majority of us take for granted can be enjoyed by all of us,” he said.
The 100,000 volunteers are made up from workers at Mecca Bingo, post offices, libraries, Jobcentre Plus, retailers including John Lewis, Age UK and 40,000 scouts.
The ways in which the volunteers will help get people online will vary, according to a spokeswoman for Race Online. For example, John Lewis is opening up training programmes, while the scouts will visit elderly people in care homes.
The campaign also includes a new array of low price recycled PC products from Microsoft, Remploy and XMA, which range from £92 to £120.
The fact that the volunteer force is so wide and varied, and that it is to be combined with low cost PCs, should bring a certain amount of success to the strategy.
However, there are a large number of adults who have shown little interest in getting online, and have proved to some degree that they can live without the internet. So it will be interesting to see how Lane Fox’s strategy pans out. Critics argue that the most socially excluded and vulnerable will still lose out.