BBC launches Give an Hour campaign

by Lynn Connolly

Fiona Bruce and a host of BBC celebrities will be encouraging people to donate their ‘free’ hour when the clocks go back on Sunday 30 October to introduce someone to the internet for the first time.

The BBC is leading the way with Give an Hour, a major national campaign. Alongside its many partners, the BBC will be encouraging the estimated 30 million people in the UK who use the internet regularly to help the estimated 8.7 million (source: ONS surveys) who are still offline to get started by ‘giving an hour’.

Fiona Bruce says: “The internet is an incredible thing. Helping someone go online can open their world beyond the four walls of their home. They can keep in touch with friends and family which is so important. They can do useful things, they can go shopping, and they can have fun. So go on, give an hour.”

Research conducted for the BBC has shown that friends and families play an integral role in inspiring and helping others to get online. Of people in the UK who know someone who doesn’t use the internet, 86% say they are ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to help someone get online.

The BBC has produced a showcase of short films presented by well-known TV faces to provide an introduction to the internet and inspiration for ways to give an hour and show someone the benefits of being online.

Themed around passions and interests the new films cover topics from sport to cooking, and how to stay in touch with family and friends, to managing your money and health.

The films can be used by ‘digital champions’, who are already confident online, to show their offline friends, family and neighbours how easily the internet can enhance enjoyment of hobbies and interests and enrich everyone’s life.

The films are accompanied by a series of written guides and a handbook on how to use the extra hour most effectively to introduce someone to the internet.

All the ideas and information people may need can be downloaded at bbc.co.uk/giveanhour.

Former Olympic athlete Colin Jackson reveals how he got into his chosen sport of athletics and the importance of his parents’ support. He uses the internet to check out his opponents’ sporting statistics and as a contributor to the BBC Sports Academy website shares tips on how to raise your game.

Colin says: “If sport is your passion the internet is a magical world.”

Something For The Weekend chef Simon Rimmer demonstrates how the internet is a great source of inspiration for him. Says Simon: “I’m too old to have been taught anything about computers at school. I was a bit of a Luddite. The internet revolutionised what I could do as a chef. It gives a whole world of resources to me.”

He adds: “If you are stuck for inspiration go online, get on to the BBC recipe finder; key in whatever you’ve got sitting in your fridge and you will find the answer to your cooking dilemmas – it’s brilliant!”

Independent financial expert Alvin Hall shares what he learnt about money early on in life and explains how the internet has the tools and information to enable us all to manage our finances better.

“I like the internet because it puts control and access to information in your hands,” he says. Alvin recently conquered his long-held fear of swimming and suggests if you are fearful of the internet, just jump in the deep end.

BAFTA-nominated actress Lesley Manville knows the importance of staying healthy. She uses the internet to search for health foods and reveals how the internet also provided her and her family with useful information when her mother was diagnosed with dementia.

Lesley says: “It helped me to understand what my mother was going through. Computers will change your life – and it makes shopping quite nice as well!”

And Fiona Bruce meets 90-year-old Barbara at a beginners’ computer course in London and introduces her to the wealth of information available online, from how to plant a gooseberry bush to where to find the favourite TV programmes she has missed.

The BBC will be running a three-week promotional campaign on TV and radio networks across the country from 24 October.

The BBC’s Give an Hour is in partnership with Go ON Give an Hour, working with a wide range of partner organisations including Race Online 2012, UK Online Centres, The Post Office and Age UK, to help reduce the number of off-liners.

The BBC’s TV, radio and local radio output will also be supporting the campaign with activity to explain the benefits of using the internet. Many celebrities including Bill Oddie, Stephen Fry, Gabby Logan and Christopher Eccleston have also lent their support to the campaign and feature in a special promotional film for the BBC Give an Hour website.

To find out how you can help someone to get online go to: bbc.co.uk/giveanhour.

For more information about local beginners’ computer courses ring the freephone advice line 08000 150 950. Lines are open 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

People can also make a pledge online and join the many others who have already signed up to the Digital Champion Network.

Go on: give your hour to a friend, neighbour or member of your family to show them the wonders of the web.

© BBC

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.