Help is near for seniors, hawkers to go digital

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There will be nearly 50 SG Digital community hubs from next month

From next month, seniors and hawkers needing help with using their digital devices will be able to get assistance at nearly 50 SG Digital community hubs islandwide as part of Singapore's digitalisation push.

At these hubs, located in community centres and public libraries, residents can learn how to use common mobile apps such as WhatsApp and SingPass Mobile in one-to-one sessions with digital ambassadors.

Meanwhile, stallholders can find out how to integrate payment tools smoothly into their business. Both groups can also participate in small-group classes to pick up new digital skills at the hubs.

Speaking after a visit to the SG Digital Office community hub in West Coast Community Centre yesterday, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said the hubs are a "welcome addition" to Singapore's broad slate of national digitalisation initiatives.

"(The hubs) are important because they become a node in the community where people know that they can go and get help and advice," he said. "Essentially, the hubs are a physical manifestation of our assurance that we will walk the (digitalisation) journey with you."

The West Coast community hub is one of five that has already started operations, along with others at Heartbeat@Bedok, Leng Kee Community Centre, MacPherson Community Centre and Our Tampines Hub.

Another six hubs will open by the end of this month, with the rest to follow next month. The hubs are open to the public from 10am to 6pm.

Madam Ng Pek Low, 73, went to the West Coast community hub with her husband yesterday, after she found out about it from community centre staff.

She wanted to learn to use some of the more advanced functions of WhatsApp, such as sending voice messages.

"My daughter has tried to teach us before, but she is too fast and has no patience," said the retiree in Mandarin.

"The digital ambassadors (at the hub) were very patient and taught at a pace and in a way that was comfortable for us old people."

She added that she is keen to learn how to buy things on e-commerce platforms next.

In the past few months, the Government has ramped up efforts to promote digitalisation, in response to widespread economic and social disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Singapore Digital Office was set up in May under the Infocomm Media Development Authority to spearhead these efforts, which include the Seniors Go Digital and Hawkers Go Digital movements.