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Digital roadshows connect communities to online opportunities

14 November 2013

A roadshow to help people in the Highlands and Islands to make the most out of digital technology is being launched in Inverness on Tuesday 19 November.

Developed for both social and business users, 'Our Digital Zone' will be setting up in venues across Inverness, Moray, Dingwall, Fort William, Dunoon and Oban over the next few months to share information on how technology can benefit how we live and work.

The programme, run by a partnership between Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Business Gateway and Citizens Online, offers a wide range of free advice to any level of user. There's help for those taking the first steps in getting online, for people who want to develop their web or social media activity, or who want to discover more about the latest digital technology.

Theresa Swayne, Senior Digital Development Manager at HIE, said: "We have already run a number of successful sessions across the region and have provided one-to-one support through our Digital Health Checks to more than 120 businesses. This roadshow is another step in reaching as many people as possible. In each area we will have advisers on hand to answer digital questions and to provide details about the wide range of free events available.

"The roadshow does tie in with the rollout of fibre broadband across the region, although our events are designed to help people make the best of whatever speeds and technology they have. As fibre broadband rolls out it will make a huge difference to our online experiences, and we want to give people the confidence and skills to take full advantage of it."

The list of events for each roadshow is available here. The first one in Inverness is at the Eastgate Centre from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 November, with workshop sessions being held in venues nearby. In addition to this support, businesses can get more information on 'Digital Health Checks' which provide tailored advice on how to make better use of technology.

For those interested in fibre broadband technology, BT will be in Inverness on the same dates with its high-tech vehicle in Falcon Square. Those who sign up to the 20 minute sessions can see demonstrations of how fibre is laid and the equipment used in rollout.

Irene Warner MacIntosh of Citizens Online said: "It can be daunting keeping up with changing technology. We have free sessions suitable for everyone. Popular topics include researching your family tree, using YouTube to find expert advice, and we have a session for parents on keeping kids in the 8-12 age range safe online."

The specialised sessions being delivered alongside the roadshows cover topics including building websites, coding, and social media. There will be additional 'Digitalk' technology taster sessions popular with business users.

Following events in Inverness, roadshow locations include Elgin, Lhanbryde, Buckie, Forres, Dingwall, Fort William, Dunoon, Oban, Hopeman and Lossiemouth.

Maria Peter of Business Gateway said: "Accessing the opportunities that the internet and digital technologies provide can be very important to businesses, particularly in remote regions such as ours. Regardless of what stage your small business is at - whether it is starting up or looking to grow - Our Digital Zone will provide relevant advice and local information to help. I would encourage people to attend their local roadshow to find out more about the support that's available and how to make the most of new and existing opportunities.

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