The Digital Divide: 'I didn't want to live anymore', says pensioner

There's no denying that the online world is a huge part of many of our lives. The pandemic has made services that were once an option or a bit of a luxury, vital.

Yet, millions of people are still digitally excluded, unable to afford, access or work technology properly, and it's leaving them at a huge disadvantage.

Bernard Whipbay is 72 who lives in Salford. His lung conditions mean he has spent much of the past 18 months behind closed doors.

But, he couldn't bank or shop online or even FaceTime his grandchildren. Feeling helpless he became depressed and suicidal.

Credit: ITV News

Thankfully, Bernard was put in touch with a local course that was able to teach him the basics, he's gone from not being able to send an email to being the self titled tech support for his street.

Tech and Tea teaches those over 60 and in danger of being left behind, basic skills over a cuppa and a biscuit and lots of patience.

What is digital exclusion?

Digital exclusion affects many people - it refers to gap between those who can benefit from the digital age and those who can't.

It means some people can't fully participate in society, its estimated 1.2million people in Greater Manchester are excluded in some way for a number or reasons including:

  • Age

  • Affordability

  • Lack of skills

  • Disability

The Good Things Foundation charity are working towards finding better solutions, Emma Stone says it puts a large number people at a huge disadvantage.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority have set up a special task force to try and combat the issue. They're working with charities and organisations to try and bridge the gap.

Find out more about the Digital Inclusion Agenda here.

More on digital exclusion here: