A Year 11 student from Wigan is helping hundreds transform the lives of some of the borough’s most in need residents by helping them go digital.
Sam Boffey, who is a student at Standish High School and a UK Youth Parliament Member, was the first person to sign up to the TechMate programme organised by Wigan Council as a way of helping those in self isolation across the borough get online and use the internet to enhance their lives, keep in touch with loved ones, and look after themselves.
Through using his digital skills, Sam has helped numerous people over lockdown by connecting them with friends and family through technology.
Speaking on the TechMate programme, Sam said: “The TechMate scheme is a programme that was launched by the digital team of Wigan Council [and] it aims to help people who are socially isolated and don’t have access to digital technology to get online through the help of there own personal Tech Mate.
“The programme has been extremely beneficial to many people over lockdown and has enabled people to connect with friends and family through technology.”
He continued: “I was the first TechMate on the scheme and have helped to pioneer the programme and engage over 50 more people to get involved with the number constantly rising. The scheme is great and highly beneficial to me and to the learners.
“I would recommend anyone thinking of getting involved to sign up.”
So, what does being a TechMate actually involve then?
As a TechMate, people use their passion for digital to transform the lives of some of the borough’s most in need residents, while adding something invaluable to their CV.
Those involved will provide one-to-one support over the phone or via video to help people learn basic digital skills, such as using the internet, email and everyday apps, and communicating with friends and family online through social media and video calls.
Staying safe online, transacting online, using council and government services and banking / shopping, creating documents, and taking and sharing photos are amongst the other things support is provided for.
Most TechMate sessions run for one to two hours each week.
Participants are encouraged to keep things flexible and arrange calls at times that suit both them and their TechMate learner.
You can find more information and volunteer to become a TechMate via the Wigan Council website here.
James Corden is trending as football fans joke loser of England vs USA ‘has to keep him’
Twitter users might have noticed that James Corden is trending again – and it’s not because it’s nearly Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special season.
The reason the British actor, comedian and presenter is trending is much funnier.
Once the World Cup games were matched up and we realised England and USA would face off in the group stages, people started joking that they would use Corden as a punishment for losing.
It’s become an ongoing joke that the loser of tonight’s World Cup match will ‘have to keep James Corden’.
And nobody seems to want that.
Corden fell out of favour last month when New York restaurant Balthazar called him ‘a tiny Cretin of a man’ and said that he abused their staff on his visit.
He was banned, then apologised, and now all seems to be forgiven.
But the internet does not forgive so easily.
At the time of writing, England vs USA is drawn 0-0.
Here are some of the tweets that sum up why James Corden is trending tonight:
You can buy half Christmas trees so you don’t have to decorate the full thing
December is nearly ready for rolling around once again.
It’s time to reach out the decorations out and get into the festive spirit, but for those who’d consider themselves a bit lazy, there’s an invention that could be a life saver, and it’s quite honestly genius.
You can now buy ‘half Christmas trees’ – otherwise known as or ‘against the wall Christmas trees’.
Unless your tree’s going to placed in front of a street-facing window for rafts of passers-by to see on a daily basis, it can be really tempting to just not decorate the back of it at all, right? The faff off trying to evenly-distribute strings of lights, tinsel and baubles around a full tree is often a lot more trouble than it’s worth, especially when it’s not going to be properly seen anyway.
Some would probably say it’s pointless, and it’s this thought that has presumably prompted companies to start selling these ‘half Christmas trees’.
If you’re wondering what a ‘half Christmas tree’ is, it’s basically exactly as it sounds – half a tree.
Half Christmas trees – which are also a great option for those with slightly less space to dedicate to seasonal decorations – are available in various places, and for all manner of budgets, so it should be fairly easy to get your hands on one this festive season.
According to the product description on the Very website: “This may look like a regular Christmas tree, but it’s been cleverly designed so that one side is completely flat, so no matter how limited your space might be, you and your family can still enjoy the magic of having a tree in your home,”
“Standing an impressive 6ft tall and featuring 511 tips for a lush look, you can stand it flat against the wall to save on valuable floor space,
“It also means you don’t have to worry about any of your favourite decorations being out of sight at the back”.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper though, then there’s plenty of different options available on eBay and Amazon too, and our pick for this would be the vidaXL Artificial Half Christmas Tree – which is currently being sold on eBay by a number of different sellers for prices starting at £24.