Lane Fox Launches ‘Give An Hour’ Campaign

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The government’s latest push to get Brits online involves a host of public- and private-sector organisations

The government’s official Internet campaigner Martha Lane Fox is to launch what the government terms the biggest-ever campaign devoted to getting more users online.

The campaign will use the clock change on Sunday to launch the campaign, which includes participation by a host of organisations including the BBC, UK online centres, libraries, mobile operator 3UK, Sky, Mecca Bingo, Unionlearn, TalkTalk, the Post Office and others.

Clock change

The idea is that the clock change will give everyone an extra hour, which Internet users can make use of to pass on their skills to non-users.

Internet users can make a pledge of their time on the campaign’s website to become a Digital Champion and help others learn to use the Internet. The site also lists volunteering opportunities at local charities or UK online centres.

The event is part of the government’s wider Race Online 2012 drive to get the last 10 million Brits online.

Lane Fox said that it was “unacceptable” that there are 8.7 million people in the UK who don’t use the Internet, in spite of the opportunity it offers for making free Skype calls, exploring interests or finding shopping discounts.

“We live in an age when ‘digital’ is a vital life skill: as basic as knowing how to read and write,” she said in a statement. “It’s simply unacceptable that so many people are still unable to benefit from what the web can offer.”

The participating organisations are to invite users in for Internet taster sessions. For instance, 3’s 319 retail shops are to devote an hour a day from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November to Internet demonstrations, while Mecca bingo clubs will offer tea and biscuits as an enticement to web learning events.

In May, Lane Fox announced the Digital Champion campaign to get 100,000 users to pledge their time to help get others online.

Minimal funding

The Race Online campaign was first announced in 2010 by Lane Fox and prime minister David Cameron. It has had minimal government funding in the past, which Lane Fox has said is not a drawback.

“There is no money and we don’t need it to make a big stride forward,” Lane Fox said in August 2010. “There is a massive amount you can do. You can make big inroads into that 10 million number without having to spend money.”

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