West Sussex County Council, in partnership with Get Safe Online, is starting a search for volunteers to become part of a new group of ‘Digital Ambassadors’.
Once accepted on to the scheme, these Ambassadors will receive a series of specially tailored training sessions, delivered by experts from Get Safe Online, to help them educate and support their local communities to become safer online.
This could include one-to-one advice sessions, giving out leaflets or even hosting a webinar where the volunteer could share tips on how people can use the internet safely.
Materials will be provided for the Ambassadors to use, as well as mentoring and support to help them deliver advice effectively and confidently.
The Digital Ambassador scheme is the first to launch in the UK having been run successfully in 19 commonwealth countries.
Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “We are really pleased to be the flagship council piloting the Digital Ambassador scheme in partnership with Get Safe Online and we really want as many volunteers as possible to come forward and take part in this unique opportunity.
“People interested in the role don’t need to be well versed in technology or even be a proficient public speaker to take part. We just want applicants who want to make a positive impact in their community and feel that they could make a difference.
“By training local volunteers in the importance of adopting safe online behaviours and providing them with supporting resources, we hope the Ambassadors will help to push these messages across professional networks and into their local communities.”
This volunteer role is more important than ever as the recent Telephone Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) indicated a 57% increase in “online shopping and auctions” fraud in the last year.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online added, “There’s no doubt that the pandemic has created the perfect storm for fraud and online scams. Preoccupation with your own and your family’s health, wellbeing and finances as well as more time spent online has spelt success for the fraudster – which is why cybercrime has increased dramatically in recent months. Therefore, launching our first UK Ambassador Scheme here in West Sussex is hugely exciting – the more advice that can be shared to help our communities stay safe online, the better. If you think you might be interested, then please do get involved!”
Anyone interested in volunteering doesn’t need to be a digital expert, they just need a very basic understanding of the internet, as all the information will be given during their training - which will take place over two days in November 2021.