The Digital Inclusion Fund has closed and there are bids in from across Stratford District. Thank you to all of those who have applied – for your hard work in preparing your application and for all the ideas you’ve had about helping people of all ages start using and develop digital skills. Applications will be looked at over the coming few weeks and successful applicants informed by November 30th.

One of the ways the internet can help improve – actually change – people’s lives is through software such as Skype. As an affordable way to sit and talk (and see) people 100s if not 1000s of miles away, it is one of the ways groups have proposed to be able to connect their residents with friends and families.

Up until just recently, both parties (friends wanting to talk ‘face-to-face’) had to have installed the software (or application), which could take some explaining. That has all changed and now with Skype having just launch ‘Skype Links’ so that people can make video and voice calls to people who don’t have an account. All they need is an internet browser. Full details are HERE.

Many bids were/are looking for ‘Digital Champions’, people within a community who can help others do every sort of ‘digital’ task – from the very basics of using a tablet or mobile (switching ione on and off can be confusing for many!) through to using on-line shopping apps, searching for the best value, registering with support agencies and then the ‘fun’ of having an e-mail account and avoiding having anything to do with spam.

If you feel you have digital skills that could be of use (this will be across the whole of the District), please do send us an e-mail ( and we can arrange to have a chat. The DI Funding (for successful groups) will be available very soon so you could start volunteering early in the New Year. Successful groups will promote opportunities themselves but if you’d like to be considered as a priority candidate  – please contact us as soon as you can!

The changes Skype have made will make the lives of everyone who uses their services easier, and they are just the start. It could be early in in 2016 that new mobile phones designed specifically for Older People will be available (they have been tested elsewhere this year). Your advice, your knowledge and skills – they will change people’s lives.