Did you know that Orb is a UK Online Centre? But what does that mean? We caught up with Leon at Orb to ask that very question.

“As a charity, our mission statement is to support vulnerable individuals. We know that there are a lot of senior citizens in our Knaresborough and Harrogate community and we wanted to offer our new computer suite to as many people as possible.

We want to end digital exclusion, which makes older people feel vulnerable: they might find computer classes frightening or feel isolated from technology they don’t fully understand.”

UK Online logo

Orb is a UK Online Centre

So to solve this problem, Orb has teamed up with UK Online, a government initiative to get people on the Internet using an easy-to-learn training course called Myguide. Orb already offers IT access and training to its regular service users but now offers it for free to local people over 50 years old every Friday.

“We help older or retired people, a mix of women and men with no access to a computer or the Internet at home or they want to make better use of it. Some have tried other classes elsewhere but found them too big or they couldn’t ask questions because the range of abilities and needs were too wide.”

Orb UK Online IT classes can cater for up to seven people at once: that’s large enough to be supportive, but small enough for one-to-one help.

Two older people sat using laptop computers

Orb's computer suite

What kind of IT skills can you learn at Orb?

  • Basics, like using a keyboard and mouse
  • How to use email to stay in touch with friends and family
  • Useful real-life tasks like on-line banking, job hunting and how to search for information
  • How to stay safe on-line

It’s not all computers and Internet though, you can learn how other technology fits together, like digital photography and digital TV. You can also earn certificates for your learning achievements which count towards national qualifications.

This is all taught in a friendly environment, with one-to-one support from David Smithson, a retired IT teacher and other Orb volunteers.

Do you want to learn IT skills for free at Orb?

Our free IT training and computer access is available for anyone over 50 years old at Orb Community Arts in Knaresborough every Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm, you should contact us to book your place.

This blog article was written by Chris Kenworthy: copywriter and photographer