Digital inclusion

Help to learn how to use computers and get online

As services and social activities move online, you need to use computers and the internet to do what you need to do or take part in groups. There's plenty of help available to get you up and running. You might be surprised how quickly you learn - and it could save you money in the long run.

AbilityNet - have a number of services that support a wide range of users, older or disabled people looking for help with their technology through to digital professionals advocating for accessibility best practices within their organisation.

Cheshire libraries - IT buddy, group sessions e.g. tablet and tea - Check what's on offer at your local library

Learn My Way - develop your digital skills at your own pace with these free online courses that show you the basics from using your device to online banking and managing your health online.

Digital Connect ( - Age UK's free Connect All project will link you up with a volunteer to help you take the first steps. You can even borrow a tablet if you need one!

Age UK computer classes - run classes at several centres in the area offering a training in computer, internet and email skills.They also offer home visits.

Alsager British Legion are offering digital help to veterans - see their leaflet Branching Out Digitally (PDF, 521KB)

Free online learning from BT - over 180 courses from the basics upwards - everything from how to make video calls to accessing public services online

Staying safe online

You can protect yourself from scams by learning what to look out for and taking simple precautions.

Our Trading Standards have teamed up with Get Safe Online for advice and information on online safety and protection.

Choosing an internet service (broadband) provider

If you have a telephone landline, you can probably add broadband to your existing contract. You may get a better deal by doing some research to compare costs and service levels between providers before making your choice. You can also get broadband as a separate service without a landline.

Most providers offer reduced price deals for the first six months or year - make sure you understand what the price will be after that and how long you will be tied into the contract for. 

You can switch providers once your contract is up (or you may be able to switch earlier for a fee) 
Choosing the best mobile, broadband and landline provider - Ofcom

Some broadband service providers offer social tarrifs to customers who receive certain government benefits. Ofcom have more details on social tarrifs.

Broadband connections - speed and reliability

For the fastest and most reliable broadband, choose a high speed 'full fibre' service if you can. This means you won't be relying on copper phone cables that slow down the internet and can cause reliability problems. Here at Cheshire East Council, we are partnering with Open Reach to make sure that everyone in the borough has access to full fibre connections - including those in remote rural areas.
Connecting Cheshire – fibre broadband for Cheshire, Halton & Warrington

The Government is providing voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas. See their Gigabit voucher scheme

The type of cable is not the only thing that affects broadband speed - all sorts of other factors can slow you down
Tips for improving your broadband speed

You have a legal right to ask for a connection with a download speed of at least 10Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1Mbit/s.
Your right to request a decent broadband service: What you need to know - Ofcom

Free SIM cards

Our libraries are working with the Good Things Foundation to distribute free SIM cards and mobile data to local people facing digital exclusion through not being able to afford sim cards and mobile data. See our libraries page on free SIM cards and mobile data.

Free computer use and wifi in libraries

Library members can use library computers and the internet free for the first hour each day. There is a small charge for further hours and for non-members. Members can also take their own devices to the library and use free wifi.

Free access to online resources for library members

Library members get free access to a variety of online subscription services, ranging from driving test theory practice to

Digital Inclusion Partnership 

In December 2022 we asked for your views on our plan for our digital inclusion partnership - see the results of your feedback in our Digital Inclusion Partnership Report (PDF, 287KB)

In May 2023 we published our Digital Inclusion Plan for 2023-26 (PDF, 2.42MB)

Page last reviewed: 24 May 2023