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Age Concern hopes to boost silver surfing

Scheme aims to get the older generation online

The older generation will be able to improve their online skills and access new technologies, thanks to a new scheme sponsored by Age Concern and Microsoft.

The Outreach computers session trial will initially take place in Berkshire, with further areas on the cards. It will also elderly people access to and training about technologies they would not normally be have the opportunity to use.

"It is crucial for older learners to have the chance to experience these sessions in familiar surroundings," said Geoff Chivers, chief officer at Age Concern, Berkshire.

"The lessons also provide an excellent opportunity for those who are on lower incomes, people who find it hard to get about and anyone lacking in confidence with IT," added Chivers.

According to the National Office of Statistics, currently just 11 percent of those aged over 65 have access to the internet, a figure which schemes such as this hope to increase.

"Older people are in danger of being neglected by the digital society, yet they are one of the groups that stand to benefit from it most," said Neil Holloway, managing director of Microsoft UK.

Berkshire pensioners can enjoy on-the-spot IT training from next Tuesday, when the scheme will launch.

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