We've been celebrating our 15th birthday in style - by giving others the gift of broadband.
Just keep reading to find out more about Plusnet's birthday broadband gifts to 15 of the UK's online learning centres…
We know it's traditional to get gifts on your birthday, but sometimes it's nicer to give than to receive. So, as part of our on-going 15th birthday celebrations, we've given the gift of broadband to some online newbies in our neck of the woods.
We've been working with UK Online Centres, an organisation which co-ordinates the network of 3,800 community-based UK online learning centres across England, and offers training and products to help people to get online.
And we've just donated a year's free broadband to 15 UK online learning centres - each of which has passed this present on to one of their attendees, so that these new internet users can improve their skills and online learning in the comfort of their own homes.
That's one pressie for every year Plusnet's been working away to provide the UK with cheap internet access. And, as we all know, charity starts at home - so, as we're proud to provide our good honest home broadband from Sheffield, we chose online learning centres in South Yorkshire.
Government figures show that although more than 40 million adults in the UK use the internet and more than 30 million of us use it every day, there are still more than 8 million adults in the UK who have never used the internet.
According to Helen Milner, Chief Executive of UK Online Centres, being able to use the internet can make a substantial difference to people's lives:
"By being online, people can not only connect with family and friends and learn more, but they're also better off with the average household saving on average £560 a year just by being online. With more and more services moving online, it's never been more important to support offline people to gain the skills they need, and we're really grateful for Plusnet's help in supporting us to do this."
Online learning centres are playing a vital role in helping people to get on the internet by providing computer training and support within local communities. By doing so, they combat digital exclusion and enable people to take advantage of everything that t'internet has to offer - and Plusnet are proud to be helping out too.
Plusnet is already a partner of Race Online 2012 - the national digital inclusion campaign set up by Martha Lane Fox, the Government's UK Digital Champion.
As part of our commitment to the Race Online initiative, we have been working closely with UK Online Centres and, this week, we've visited online learning centres in Dinnington, Heeley and Burngreave to chat to people over a cup of tea and a slice of Plusnet birthday cake, so we could find out just what getting online meant to them.
You can find out more in this video footage taken on the day.
For people like Annette Fagan, who has been learning online skills at the Computers within Reach learning centre in Dinnington, getting online has been life-changing and, thanks to the support she's had from the centre's staff, simple:
"Coming to the UK online centre has been absolutely fantastic - it's opened my life up completely. I was terrified of my computer but the tutor was so lovely, they worked at my own pace, I never felt patronised and I enjoyed every minute!"
Plusnet's CEO, Jamie Ford, headed off to an online learning centre at Burngreave Works, Sorby House, in Sheffield to see the great job that's being done there - and to discover how Plusnet's birthday gift of free broadband will benefit new online learners. He said:
"It’s great to be able to use our skills and services to help the local community. The online learning centres across the city are a fantastic resource for people who want to learn more about computers and the Internet and they often provide a great social opportunity too. Being able to give people the chance to utilise the skills they have learnt at the centres in their own home is really life-changing."
Have you, or someone you know, been helped by an online learning centre? Just let us know by leaving a comment below …
Here at Plusnet we're always trying to use clever open source things to make our lives easier. Sometimes we write our own and make other people's lives easier too!
We're a Yorkshire-based provider selling broadband and phone services to homes and businesses throughout the UK. Winner of the ISPA 2010 'Best Consumer Customer Service ISP' Award, we're proud to offer the UK's best value standalone broadband.
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