Registration opens today for EE National Techy Tea Party Day on 9 September. Age UK is official partners for the inaugural event.
On the day, over 500 EE stores, offices and contact centres will stop trading from 9.30am to 11am to host the parties.
EE is inviting members of the public to come along and bring any devices they want to learn more about, such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. EE's digital champions will help them get to grips with their kit and show them some basic online skills.
Anyone interested in attending can visit any EE store to register or go to the EE's Techy Tea Party page on the EE website.
6m people have never been online
There are currently 6m people in the UK who've never been online, and almost 7m people aged 65 and over who can't search for information on the internet - that's 6 in 10 older people.
The internet offers huge benefits to people by making it easier to stay in touch with loved ones, pursue hobbies and make savings. Yet, 4.8m people aged 65 and over in the UK have never been online.
June Whitfield CBE, an ambassador of Age UK, celebrated the launch by hosting a special Techy Tea Party at the Age UK East London Computer Centre in Hackney.
Over some tea and biscuits, June talked with her guests about the benefits of being connected. She's hoping more will sign up for the parties.
She said: ‘I believe that we should all be given the chance to learn basic digital skills. There are endless opportunities online and I would encourage everyone, no matter what their age, to embrace it.
‘One of the great advantages is being able to keep in contact with family members and friends no matter where they are.
'Recently when my daughter was in Australia we were able to keep in touch regularly by using Skype. It was great to see her on the screen and chat. It was as if she was in the room with me.
‘Anyone who has yet to get online should certainly give it a try, and the Techy Tea Party is a chance to get started.’
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said: ‘There are huge benefits to being connected in a world that is becoming increasingly digital, but technology is moving so fast and it can be hard to keep up.
'Through EE National Techy Tea Party Day we want to use our staff’s expert knowledge to help those most in need develop these key digital skills.’
Lucy Hastings, Lead for Digital Inclusion at Age UK, said: ‘Older people tell us technology can be daunting and they are not quite sure how to use it or how to get online.
‘Age UK helps by running programmes for thousands of people in later life to get to grips with technology, gaining skills and confidence to use the Internet.
‘The EE National Techy Tea Parties will give older people the chance on the high street to experience what the internet can offer such as keeping in touch with loved ones, discovering new hobbies, and saving money on products and services by shopping around.’
Big Society Award
The campaign has until now run at a local level, where it's been a huge success. It's already won the Prime Minister's backing with a Big Society Award earlier this year.
Prime Minister David Cameron commented: ‘Whether it’s creating an email account to connect with friends and family, or learning how to use a tablet, EE’s Techy Tea Parties are demystifying technology and giving people the skills to get online.’
EE is inviting charities, businesses and local communities to get involved and support the day. Go ON UK, UK Online Centres, Marie Curie Cancer Care, EON, Post Office and the National Citizenship Service have all pledged support.
Samsung is the official device partner and Asda and Tetley have signed up as EE National Techy Tea Party Day supporters to provide tea and biscuits for all the EE events.
Registration opens today and anyone interested in attending a Techy Tea Party can visit any EE store or go to the EE website.