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Free training event gets small businesses online

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Guests taking part at the Swindon digital event hosted by Lloyds Banking GroupGuests taking part at the Swindon digital event hosted by Lloyds Banking GroupCharities and small businesses in Swindon have been given a digital skills boost with a free training event hosted by Lloyds Banking Group.

The event took place at University Technology College and was attended by 93 local businesses and charities, along with Swindon South MP Robert Buckland.

Speakers from Google and from Reason Digital – an agency that provides digital services to organisations seeking social change – offered practical tips on how organisations can use social media and free online website-building tools to spur growth and development.

They also discussed cyber security, including ways to combat fraud and improve data protection.

In addition, the event gave participants an opportunity to discuss ideas with representatives from other Wiltshire-based businesses and charities.

Kirsty Haasjes, who attended the event, is the marketing manager at Wiltshire Community Foundation, an independent charity that gives grants and funding to charities and volunteer organisations across Wiltshire and Swindon.

“I manage our social media so it was great to pick up some tips from Google on how to maximise the quality and reach of our posts,” she said.

“I thought Google’s Test My Site page – where you can test the functionality and speed of your website for mobile users – was really useful.

“And it was interesting to get some up-to-date statistics about social media use. I can use that information to explain why it’s worth my organisation spending more time on the platforms that are relevant to our audience.

“The speakers also brought home the importance of basic security measures when you’re running a website. Simply updating your antivirus software when your computer prompts you to, for example, can make a big difference.”

Stephen Noakes, Lloyds Banking Group’s ambassador for the South West, said: “Our latest Business Digital Index report has shown that about 37 percent of small organisations in the South West lack basic digital skills.

“Better websites and an engaging social media presence can unlock so many benefits. For charities, that can include increasing the number of supporters or donors, and businesses can grow their sales and target new markets.

“That’s why, as part of our plan to help Britain prosper, we’re committed to supporting small organisations on their journeys to become more digitally capable.”