Bridging the Digital Divide: How Help Me Be Digital is Empowering North Tyneside Residents

Have you ever felt frustrated trying to book a doctor’s appointment online, or struggled to use a smartphone or digital device? If so, you’re not alone. With more services moving online, digital exclusion is a real issue, but Help Me Be Digital is making a difference to people across North Tyneside.

This initiative, from North Tyneside VODA, funded by the NHS North East North Cumbria ICB, provides free one-to-one digital support to residents. Feeling unsure about navigating the online world? Help Me Be Digital is here to bridge the gap.

Weekly drop-ins

The project offers friendly and welcoming drop-in sessions at both Wallsend Library (Wednesdays, 10am-12pm) and North Shields Library (Thursdays, 10am-12pm).  No matter your digital experience level, their team is happy to help. Whether you want to learn how to use the NHS App, set up an email account, or simply gain more confidence browsing online, they’ve got you covered.

Community support

Help Me Be Digital also reaches out to the community by attending GP surgeries, shopping centres, and local events. This proactive approach ensures that support is easily accessible to those who may not be able to attend the regular sessions. They also offer at-home support for residents who may not be able to attend the drop-in sessions.

The growing problem of digital exclusion

Digital exclusion is a significant issue in the UK, with millions of people lacking basic digital skills and access to the internet. By providing hands-on support and guidance, Help Me Be Digital is bridging the digital divide and equipping North Tyneside residents with the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly digital society. With more services moving online, everyone must have the opportunity to develop their digital literacy and feel confident using digital devices.

Staying safe online

The project not only focuses on practical skills such as setting up email accounts, using the NHS App and downloading apps but also emphasises the importance of staying safe online, giving residents the knowledge and resources needed to protect themselves online, and ensuring a safe and positive digital experience.

Making a difference: Brian’s Story

Brian’s story is just one example of the positive impact Help Me Be Digital is having on people’s lives.

Brian first came to a Help Me Be Digital drop-in session in 2023 for some support using his tablet and smartphone. He had lost his confidence using digital technology and wanted some informal support to refresh his skills. Brian’s confidence has soared since attending the HMBD drop-in sessions, surpassing his own expectations. Brian said “I am now much more confident using a wide range of functions on my tablet. My family, friends and work have all commented on the improvements.”

Become a volunteer!

Help Me Be Digital is always looking to add to its amazing volunteers, who are essential to the success of this project. You don’t have to be an IT expert to get involved – just have a good understanding of digital devices and a willingness and patience to help others. The roles are flexible and can be tailored to suit you. By volunteering your time and knowledge, you can make a real difference in the lives of residents who may be struggling with digital challenges.

One of our regular volunteers said: “I think it’s made me feel valued and done wonders for my confidence and self-esteem, so as much as I give to the client or the beneficiary, I get it all back.”

Call 0191 643 2622 or email [email protected] to find out more.

Do you need help with digital?

If you need support with your digital skills, consider attending one of the weekly drop-in sessions, you can find them at Wallsend Library every Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm and at North Shields Library every Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm. Or you can contact 0191 643 2622. Find out more at


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