Giving an hour to help someone onto the internet

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Last week, I spent a really enjoyable hour helping mother-of-three Jacinta Rodrigues get online for the first time. I was doing my bit for a new BBC campaign called Give an Hour.

We launched the campaign on Breakfast News and at an event at MediaCity UK in Salford in which presenter Pam Rhodes joined 250 volunteers in encouraging internet first-timers. We have been covering the story across the BBC - particularly on local radio. You can watch a video of the launch event below.

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage all of us who use the internet regularly to help one of the 8.7 million people in the UK who have still never used it. On Sunday the clocks went back and the campaign calls on us all to give that 'extra' hour to show someone the benefits of the internet.

The BBC has a really important role to play in this. We have fantastic content on our own website which we'd like everyone to enjoy. Computing has the power to help people educate, inform and entertain themselves and this technology should be accessible to everyone. The creativity of our programme makers and the unique trust the public place in us means that we at the BBC have a special responsibility to help. Giving people the tools, skills and above all the inspiration to enter this new world is an incredibly important goal for the country which the BBC should get fully behind.

Jacinta is one of those people who just needed a helping hand to get started. She picked it all up very quickly and at the end of the hour we'd explored shopping online, flights to India and Wikipedia. For her, it was just a taster but I could see there'd be no stopping her once she got going.

It was incredibly helpful for me too. It's really important that all of us understand better what this new digital world looks like for those who have never accessed it. We need to offer all of them our support and make sure their transition is as easy and enjoyable as possible.

This is not something new to the BBC. Give an Hour is part of the BBC's ongoing commitment to Media Literacy. This latest initiative builds on the huge success of BBC Learning's First Click campaign which helped reduce the numbers of off-liners by around half a million.

I'd encourage everyone to join in. You can find a series of inspiring videos and guides on how to give your hour on our own website bbc.co.uk/giveanhour. And you can also find more practical help and even advice on finding a training centre near you at our partner website www.go-on.co.uk.

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