Digital Communities project launched in St Helens

Launch of O2's Digital Communities Hub, in partnership with St Helens Council, at the Hardshaw Centre, St Helens: Councillor John Fulham, left, with O2's business director Ben Dowd and St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer

Launch of O2's Digital Communities Hub, in partnership with St Helens Council, at the Hardshaw Centre, St Helens: Councillor John Fulham, left, with O2's business director Ben Dowd and St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer

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A groundbreaking project to help St Helens people learn the skills to help power the digital economy was launched today and will have five key elements.

A bug blue bus has been parked in Church Square this morning and a digtal hub has opened in the Hardshaw Centre as O2 launches its project to get more people to exploit their online potential.

St Helens has been chosen as the pilot for O2’s Digital Communities scheme to make sure people outside London share in the benefits of the growth in digital opportunities.

The activities include:

Digital makeovers: Over three months at least ten businesses will be offered free consultations and given the latest technology to help them grow.

Digital Skills Exchange: Will match local businesses with young digital talent in the town offering them the chance to put their skills into practice and gain work experience.

The O2 Think Big grant giveaway: Will offer 60 grants to provide funding and mentoring to young entrepreneurs to kick start their digital ideas into reality.

Young people in St Helens will be given the skills to find digital solutions to community challenges through the Community Hackathon. This will include anything from skills and employment to helping the environment through the creation of apps.

More than 60 workshops will take place in the O2 digital hub, based within the Hardshaw Centre, ranging from digital career clinics to social media surgeries for small and medium businesses, coding clubs and online safety sessions for parents.