The Old Inn pub at Mullion is offering chips, computer chips that is, on their menu in a ground-breaking digital inclusion strategy for Cornwall.
The Digital Champion project funded by Cornwall Council and in partnership with Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC) supports a range of organisations to share their IT skills with others. Since the start of the project in June 2015, over 60 Digital Champions have been identified across Cornwall.
In partnership with Pub is The Hub, Cornwall Council and CRCC have identified Cornish pubs that have good Wifi and are able to offer the facilities for groups to do training sessions in the pubs.
At one of the first pubs to trial the initiative, the Old Inn at Mullion, which also hosts a community library, Jay Chapman and Jane Morgan from Cornwall Rural Community Charity have organised courses for beginner IT workshops with funding from Seafarers UK.
Last week a group of local residents who regularly meet for a coffee at the Old Inn took the opportunity to improve their computer skills and gain the confidence to use the computer to enhance their everyday life. They worked on a range of devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops – and picked up simple tips for emailing, browsing and internet security.
Sara Liddle, licensee at The Old Inn is also interested in Digital Champion training for herself so that she can run her own courses. She said: “This idea is fantastic for many reasons: Firstly, it’s great that we can provide training for what are essential life skills these days in an environment that is local, warm and friendly. It doesn’t feel as daunting as going to a classroom to learn. Secondly, it’s a great way to use a space like a pub during the day or on quieter evenings, so it helps to level out trade for rural pubs like mine.”
Jay Chapman, Digital Outreach Officer for Cornwall Rural Community Charity said: “We want to run projects like this one in Cornish pubs so that we can bring IT support into the heart of local rural and coastal communities.”
Reg Clarke, the advisor for Pub is The Hub added: “When pubs increasingly have good wifi, this is a fantastic mutually beneficial initiative for the pub and its community. When Government information about benefits and other services go online by 2020, people will need these essential skills.”
“Projects like these reach older residents or hard-to-reach people, effectively taking the training to them in their own communities.”
For more information on internet users in the UK go to the Office for National Statistics Report.
In the main photograph: An Old Inn customer is put through her paces by Jane Morgan from CRCC.