GETTING CONNECTED: Ann Shepherd, Heather Reis, Frances Neal, Jenny Brown, Heather Koebrugge and Mary Penfold participating in the 'Be Connected' program.
GETTING CONNECTED: Ann Shepherd, Heather Reis, Frances Neal, Jenny Brown, Heather Koebrugge and Mary Penfold participating in the 'Be Connected' program. Contributed

State funding helps Western Downs seniors get tech savvy

GRANDPARENTS looking to stay up to date with the world wide web will be pleased to know all their tech quandaries will soon be answered.

Western Downs Libraries are about to become a hub for tech knowledge in an effort to help improve digital literacy across the region through the Be Connected initiative.

The State Government has recently allocated $6500 to the free nationwide initiative over the next 12 months.

Be Connected aims to build on basic levels of technical knowledge to increase confidence in digital skills while teaching the importance of online safety to all Australians.

Residents will be guided through various online activities in the comfort of their local library, learning the skills necessary to navigate the internet, demystifying and familiarising them with digital platforms and social media.

There's good news for the baby boomers and younger age demographics too.

The flexible program is not only beneficial for retirees and seniors, but also accommodates people wanting to expand their skills for finding a job, locals living in remote areas and even those who have no prior technology experience with a range of workshops catered to personal learning requirements.

Western Downs Regional Council spokesperson for Community and Cultural Development Councillor Kaye Maguire says that a similar program last year was a huge success with senior residents and she hopes this expanded version will encourage more locals to take advantage of the free workshops.

"Our Tech Savvy sessions have proven to be largely popular with around 45 senior participants learning the ropes of the digital world and I believe the Be Connected program will also be a huge hit, with more locals able to participate," she said.

"With our aim to help connect the Western Downs with the world through modern and efficient telecommunications, I'd like to encourage people of all ages to get on board this fantastic initiative."

Tech Savvy participant Sharon McMillan found the program to be extremely useful, attending the Dalby session earlier this year in the hopes of learning how to use her computer more efficiently.

"I really enjoyed the workshop and took so much away from it such as how to safely shop online, use the internet and also how to use software applications like Microsoft Word, with helpful tips that make computer work so much easier," she said.

"The workshop organisers were extremely helpful, teaching the simplest things that many people wouldn't know.

"I believe education like this is so important and that's why I want to attend more sessions in the future - I've already recommended the program to a lot of people around town."

Councillor Maguire says that no matter your skill level, this program is the perfect way to improve your confidence, digital abilities and knowledge of technology.

The Be Connected program is delivered to all Western Downs Libraries with the support of Good Things Foundation and the Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

Dalby's sessions will run fortnightly from 9am-12pm on a Thursday, beginning next Thursday, August 8, all you need to do to attend is call or visit the library to book in.

All other branches are currently taking expressions of interest.

Once branches have the names and details of those wishing to participate they will contact them to schedule sessions.

WDRC Library Contact numbers:

Chinchilla: (07) 4660 7270

Tara: (07) 4665 3543

Miles: (07) 4628 5330

Dalby: (07) 4679 4474

Jandowae: (07) 4668 4480

Bell: (07) 4663 1113

Meandarra: (07) 4665 6147

Moonie: (07) 4665 01898

Wandoan: (07) 4558 3045

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