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Computer skills

Computers, smartphones, tablets and the internet are everywhere in modern life, and being able to access them can make many things so much easier. But if you didn't grow up in the computer age, simply never got round to learning more, or struggle with technology because of a health problem, then finding out about how to use the internet may feel like a daunting prospect.

If you are only reading this because someone else has helped you to get this far then don't worry. Learning to use your device to access the internet is easier than you think, and there is plenty of help out there to get people of all backgrounds and ages on-line and comfortable with the internet.

And once you can use your device, you will be able to:

  • pay bills and do your banking online
  • do your shopping and get it delivered
  • keep in touch with friends and family via email, messaging or video calling
  • find information and get advice about your rights, about interesting places to go and things to do, and about services and organisations which can help you

Getting started

Our Events calendar gives details of regular classes and other activities which can help you to get up to speed with computers and the internet.

There are various organisations and schemes which may be able to offer you help.

Your local adult education service will offer courses on using computers to people at all levels of ability, from beginners upwards:-

If you don't own your own computer you may be able to access one at your local library. And some libraries also provide training to get you started in using a computer:

Age UK offer information and advice on using technology and the internet.

Your local Age UK centre has a number of classes and facilities to help you learn and use computers, and may be able to lend you a computer to get you started. Contact your local centre:

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses for beginners, helping you develop digital skills to make the most of the online world.

  • Get started - Learn basic online skills - find out how to use a mouse, keyboard and learn how to use email
  • Learn more - Once you've grasped the basics, go even further and learn how to bank online, how to shop online, stay healthy, or explore skills and careers
  • What Next? - If you're ready to move on, we'll point you in the right direction for even more things you can do and learn online.

Online Centres Network use the Learn My Way online courses to support and teach computer beginners. Over 5000 centres are based all around the country, providing friendly, expert guidance for those who need help with computers.

If you can provide computer access and friendly support to help at least three learners a month, then you can become a Online Centres Network partner receiving the full free package of benefits, including training for staff and the chance to apply for grants and funding.

Online Centres Network have worked with social housing providers, health and social care providers, and many other organisations to help local residents to get online.

The Third Age Foundation run regular courses for people over 40, supporting them to get on line and learn new computer skills, both for personal gain and to assist them when looking for work  - take a look at their leaflet.

The Barclays Bank Digital Eagles scheme supports people to develop their computer and internet skills. If you need help to set up a new social group or club online you can go along to a Tea & Teach session at a local branch of Barclays.

The sessions are free and anyone can go along, even if they don't bank with Barclays.

Open Age is a charity working across Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster who have a number of popular classes for people wanting to learn to use computers. They do a lot more as well!

New Horizons run regular beginners and advanced computer classes for people over 50 in Kensington and Chelsea.

The IT Connect project from Action on Disability offers twice-weekly computer groups for people over the age of 18 with a disability or long term health condition - find out more.  

Fulham Good Neighbours' Digital Inclusion project arranges one-to-one lessons with their volunteers at their hall or at your home on how to use the computers, tablets/smartphones, Alexa/Google devices and the internet.  

Other information and advice

The BBC Webwise site offers advice on making the most of the internet.

Gransnet is the social networking site for grandparents. Its forums cover everything from politics to holidays, gardening to difficult daughters-in-law.