Torquay Library is pleased to announce its inclusion in a new BT and Barclays initiative to bring free Wi-Fi and hands-on digital support to the communities and residents of Torbay.

Libraries are valued learning and meeting spaces for the local community and free internet access, combined with expert support, will open up opportunities that being online has to offer.

BT have supported the set-up of free Wi-Fi connectivity while BT Digital Friends and Barclays Digital Eagles, specially trained members of Barclays’ staff, will build upon Torbay Libraries’ existing digital skills training to provide free technology advice to help local people build confidence and develop the skills they need to succeed in the digital world.

In the UK some 12 per cent of the adult population have never been online and this increases to 61 per cent for those over 75 years old. With so many opportunities from education, interacting with friends, job opportunities and access to government and health services all available online, it has never been more important for members of our community to start their digital journey.

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Customer Services, Councillor David Morris, says:: “We are delighted to be part of the BT and Barclays initiative. This will provide every member of Torbay’s community the opportunity, the tools and resources to get ahead in today’s digital world in a supported environment.”

Anna Easton, BT’s Sustainable Business Director commented: “At BT, we believe in the power of communications to make a better world. We want to ensure that everyone can not only access the digital world, but can also have the skills and support they need to stay online in the long term.

“Feedback from our existing digital inclusion programmes shows that for the elderly and unemployed, both access and long term support in the community is essential. This new partnership with Barclays will ensure that support is available for those that need it the most.”

Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays, said “Across the country, people are experiencing the digital revolution, but like all revolutions, it’s not one that happens to all people at once. Some will adopt digital skills quickly, others will take more time.

“At Barclays, we firmly believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind on the digital journey and through this significant partnership with BT, we can ensure that even more people have access to the services and support they need to embrace the digital revolution.”

BT and Barclays have both committed to support the implementation of the Government’s Digital Inclusion strategy which aims to reduce the number of people offline in the UK by 25% by 2016..

Barclays Digital Eagles/BT Digital Friends will be organising dates soon in the library for their digital support to library customers.

Free Wi-Fi is already available in Paignton and Brixham Libaries, with Churston Library aiming to offer free wi fi in April next year as part of a new Government funded Arts Counil scheme.

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