Do you know anyone who’s never used the internet? The knowledge that you take for granted can make a big difference to their life. Can you give a couple of hours of your time to get someone excited, help them take their first steps online and have fun along the way? There are plenty of ways you can help, contact NetBuddies to find out more.

Keep taking the Tablets
As iPads and Tablets are becoming very popular, because of their apparent ease of use, we are starting to put together classes to help new users get the best from them. They usually have minimal instructions, so new users have to find their own way around, which can be confusing for anyone not used to computer logic and interfaces. We aim to de-mystify the process. If you are interested, call us on 01458 250603.

Levels Job Clubs
NetBuddies are supporting a number of local Job Clubs in the Levels area. Current details are on the web site, but we welcome news of other clubs starting or operating in the area. Our own clubs are open, or planning to open each week as follows:

Thursdays
2.00pm to 4.30pm
Somerton Methodist Church, West Street, Somerton (organised by NetBuddies Ltd)

Tuesdays
10.00am to 12.00pm
The Angel, Bow Street, Langport (organised by HaLO - Huish and Langport Opportunities)

We are fortunate to have acquired a number of desktop computers from a school and will use these to provide computer and internet access in buildings with public access, so that job seekers can look for work or volunteering opportunities on-line. Any organisation or local business willing to host a computer should contact NetBuddies on 01458 250603 immediately.

2013 Training classes
From Wednesday 23rd January there will be a new NetBuddies class at Martock. Jointly organised with Martock Parish Council and Martock Job Club, it will take place in the Market House from 2.30 to 4pm. Anyone interested in joining should contact in advance. The cost is £20 for the ten week term and the course is aimed at total novices or those who have very limited computer skills and want to improve, whatever their age and ability. You don't need a computer to take part, but you can bring your own laptop along if you have one.

There are no classes at Keinton Mandeville in the spring term. Watch for details of dates when they may restart.

Classes on Somerton now take place on Tuesday afternoons. Subject to sufficient learners attending regularly we will have two classes, one at 2pm and one at 4pm.

The class at Aller Village Hall takes place on Thursday mornings, from 10am to 11.30.

We hope to start a class in Langport soon.

Community How to Advocates
NetBuddies has received a small grant from UK online centres Community How To Advocates Fund 2012-13 to encourage small, local charities, voluntary and community organisations that don't have IT skills to take advantage of recent changes in technology. They are still doing things the hard way, but because of demands on their time and the pressure on the voluntary sector to supplement or replace Government services that are being cut back, they need to work smarter. This grant will help us promote better ways of working and also train key staff and community leaders. We hope this will free up more of their time for the things they should be doing - delivering their services, and also reduce their administration costs. Anyone in the Somerset Levels area who thinks we might be able to help them can contact NetBuddies on 01458 250603.

Training within Sheltered Housing Schemes
We are investigating offering training to residents of Sheltered Housing schemes in South Somerset. Residents are more likely to be digitally excluded, without a computer of their own and a broadband connection, so we plan to install community computers and provide basic training in how to use them. We need more volunteers to be able to expand this service over a wide area. If you are interested, please contact the office.

Rural Broadband provision
Rural areas are penalised with poor broadband access and higher prices than their town centre equivalents. We are campaigning for a more equitable system as specified by the current Government in their ' Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future' of Dec 2010. You can take our survey to provide substance for our campaign at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LRLGCFZ. We have the support of our MEP, Sir Graham Watson, in this campaign.

Community media
We have started training community groups and local voluntary organisations to produce their own simple websites and blogs to communicate with their supporters, members and clients. If you, or an organisation you are involved with, want to find out more, call us on 01458 250603.

Work Clubs
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has initiated a Get Britain Working campaign and as a part of that is encouraging formation of Work Clubs, to help unemployed people back into productive employment or volunteering. Work Clubs are locally administered not for profit organisations, not directly associated with DWP or JobCentres Plus where participants can share experiences and help each other stand a better chance of gaining useful employment. NetBuddies is considering hosting such a club (or clubs) and would be interested in your views

Grant for Community Computers
We are pleased to hear that Aller Village Hall has been promised a grant to cover the cost of installing two community computers and broadband into the Village Hall. The Grassroots grant, from Somerset Community Foundation will also cover the cost of broadband rental to March 2011, after which it is being underwritten by the Parish Council for a further year. This means our training classes should start there in January 2011. We also have a community media project based there (part funded by Talkaboutlocal) with a village web site constructed and partly maintained by our learners working alongside existing village organisations.

Cuts to Library service will impact on Public Network computers
Spending cuts at county level resulting in a major reduction in library services in Somerset is likely to see up to 20 out of 34 libraries lose their funding. They will have the option of becoming community libraries, but it will be difficult to support the full range of current activities and opening hours. This will almost certainly affect the availability of computers for public access.

Our Langportnode is operating on Friday mornings, 10 - 12, having opened on October 1st., here is a picture (left, below) from Get Online Week (18 - 24th Oct).(click pic for a larger version)

Our node at Somerton Methodist Church opened on Tuesday, 30th November, (right, above) running sessions at 2pmand 4pm. There is a waiting list in operation in Somerton, but we are trying to reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, and hope to open a further session early in the New Year. We are actively looking for suitable premises or partner organisations, as well as recruiting more tutors, to open nodes in other communities.

Click here for more details (downloadable PDF, including enquiry/registration form). Lots of enquiries came from GOLW media activity and the BBC's First Click campaign, with new members joining almost daily.

We have formed a strategic partnership to supply basic websites to smaller, independent traders and tradespeople who have not yet embraced the benefits of being online. For more details visit the TradesNet website.
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NetBuddies is a member of the UK Online Centres network, giving us the opportunity to deliver FREE training in basic computer skills from our network of nodes. If you require details of our online basics courses, or information on training and development, or want to volunteer to train as a tutor, use the form here. From September 2011, myguide is being replaced by Go-On, making more use of third party resources and relying less on its own produced learning material. Have look at www.go-on.co.uk for more information.

       

Get Online week replaced Get Online day this year - an annual event to inspire and help people to get online with over 3,000 events planned across the UK, aiming to help 80,000 people get online with myguide.

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We've joined RaceOnline 2012 as a partner with a target to get as many people as possible online by 2012.

10 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, and 4m of those are also socially excluded, meaning that the people who most need it are missing out on opportunities to connect, to save money, to find jobs.

Race Online 2012 is challenging everyone in the UK to help get us all as close to 100% online as possible by the London Olympics. 

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Our first newsletter (January 2010) is still available in PDF format to download here. It describes the concept of NetBuddies and most of the information it contains is already available on this web site. However, if you want a printable version of the survey form, this is the best solution for you.

We've started a Blog to keep you informed and also to allow you to easily make comments and suggestions of your own to help mould our enterprise. Feel free to contribute to it, we welcome your views.

Latest NEWS (Sept 1 2010)

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest figures on Internet usage. There are still 9.2 million people who have never used the internet, around 18% of the population. There were 7 million households without Internet access in 2010. When adults were asked why, 39 per cent said they didn’t need it, followed by 21 per cent who said a lack of skills prevented them from having the Internet. Equipment costs were too high for 18 per cent of adults. For more details you can read the whole report here.

NetBuddies has partnered with easyfundraising to provide a sustainable model for its future funding. Online shopping done through the easyfundraising web site raises money to support the ongoing expansion of the NetBuddies project. It won't cost the shopper a penny more, and you can visit all your favourite stores, as easyfundraising works with over 2,000 of the best known online retailers, including all the big brand names such as Amazon, Argos, M&S, John Lewis, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Comet, Boden, eBay, Boots, B&Q, Thomas Cook, Virgin and many, many more. There really is something for everyone!
You can help by registering on the website as a NetBuddies supporter here.


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Our July 2010 news update is available as a downloadable PDF file here. There is also a November update here.