Wigan Borough residents are enhancing their online skills and safety through the council’s successful digital inclusion network. The latest statistics, released on Safer Internet Day, reveal a significant increase in the number of locals accessing support for online skills. The popular TechMate Tea Parties, held in nine different locations across the borough, have seen a total of 788 attendees at 168 events in 2023. Additionally, the council-led Digital Communities Partnership now includes 29 active partner organizations, providing assistance to 1,469 adults and directing 758 individuals towards further digital training and support. Councillor Nazia Rehman, responsible for finances, resources, and transformation, emphasized the importance of equipping residents with the necessary digital skills to thrive in today’s online world. The council’s initiatives, such as the Tablet Lending Library and Databank, aim to bridge the digital divide and promote internet safety. The TechMates volunteers play a crucial role in providing support, guiding residents towards services like Learn My Way, and offering remote assistance to those unable to leave their homes. The number of Tea Parties has increased by an impressive 91% in the past year, with plans for further expansion in 2024, including sessions in residential care settings and community venues. The Digital Communities Partnership continues to grow, with local organizations collaborating to empower residents of all ages in navigating the digital world. The TechMates expansion owes much to the dedication of local volunteers, who contributed a total of 390 hours last year. Sarah Platt, a TechMate volunteer at Ashton Library, highlighted the importance of internet safety and encouraged others to become TechMates, emphasizing that even a little knowledge can go a long way. To learn more about TechMates and the Digital Communities Partnership, and to find the nearest TechMate Tea Party, visit Digital Wigan. Stay updated with the Digital Wigan team on Twitter and Instagram.