Volunteer in line for IT skills award

WEB SKILLS ... Sukhy Dhillon with some of the people she teaches.
WEB SKILLS ... Sukhy Dhillon with some of the people she teaches.

A KIND-HEARTED volunteer is in line to receive an award for her contribution to education.

Sukhy Dhillon has been nominated for an I Made a Difference Award – which recognises people’s achievements in helping to boost levels of basic online skills – by charity GO ON UK.

The 33-year-old volunteers to help older people learn IT skills at Age UK South Tyneside, Beach Road, South Shields.

The charity, founded by Baroness Lane-Fox, is supporting GO ON UK to make the UK one of the most digitally-skilled nations.

Sukhy, of All Saints, South Shields, said she is thrilled to have been nominated.

“I just feel really humbled by it,” she said.

“I never would have thought in a million years I would have been nominated for something like this.

“I feel proud to be representing Age UK.”

In the North East, 24 per cent of adults are missing out on the benefits which the internet offers.

And in the UK, one in five adults, 21 per cent, fall below the basic online skills threshold, and seven million of those remain offline.

Sukhy, who is studying to become a teacher, added: “I’m a bit nervous about it.

“I don’t volunteer to get recognition, I just do it because it is something to get out of bed for in the morning.

“I love the people I meet.”

John Briers, chief executive of Age UK South Tyneside, said: “With an estimated 17,500 older people in South Tyneside who are not currently online, we need to raise awareness of the benefits of going online to as many older people as possible.

“Sukhy fully embraces her role as a digital champion, and is an excellent advocate, devoting her time to support older people to develop their digital skills to improve later life.”

Broadcaster Lauren Laverne, who is judge of the I Made A Difference Awards, and Patron of GO ON North East, said: “Basic online skills can be life changing for people of all ages.

“From staying in contact with your family and friends, to saving money and finding a job, having the right skills to be able to navigate 
the web confidently and safely is vital.

“I will be looking to reward people who have gone the extra mile in their community to help transform the lives of others in the region.”

Baroness Lane-Fox, Chair of GO ON UK, said the people in the North East are inspiring in their work to share communication skills.

“2014 is the 25th anniversary of the internet,” she said. “And it’s more important than ever that we recognise those people who are sharing their online skills with others.

“These local digital champions are key to helping us make the North East the UK’s most digitally skilled region, and it is right that their hard work is acknowledged.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull