Rachel Riley joins thousands of Brits to get connected at national Techy Tea Party Day 2015

  • 10,000 Brits have flocked to EE stores across the country for National Techy Tea Party Day 2015
  • The annual event – in partnership with older people’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service and Jobcentre Plus – is designed to teach essential online skills to those most in need of help
  • 2,500 volunteers staffed over 500 events to show people how they can benefit from everyday technology with many getting online for the first time today
  • Celebrity presenter Rachel Riley joined an event in Westfield White City to surprise Techy Tea Party attendees
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Celebrity presenter Rachel Riley spearheaded a nationwide campaign today to battle digital exclusion – ensuring hundreds of people accessed the internet for the very first time at this year’s EE National Techy Tea Party Day.

An estimated 10,000 flocked to over 500 EE stores, contact centres, offices and partner venues across the UK for the annual event, held in partnership with Royal Voluntary Service and Jobcentre Plus. 2,500 trained volunteers hosted events to demonstrate the benefits of being online.

The day was full of firsts for Techy Tea Party participants, and it is estimated more than 2,000 people set up their first email account; more than 500 people made their first Skype call; and online job applications were also submitted for the first time.

Recent research commissioned by EE* revealed that two thirds of over 65s believe the internet and computers are the most revolutionary products of their time, trumping televisions and nuclear power and over half say being online is an important tool to reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation. However, despite recognising its transformative impact, half of those aged over 65 don’t feel confident in their online skills meaning events like Techy Tea Party Day are more important than ever.

The Techy Tea Parties held up and down the country this morning allowed anyone who felt they needed a bit more support to ask their burning tech questions in an informal setting, over a cup of tea provided by Tetley’s.

Celebrity presenter Rachel Riley said: “Digital exclusion is a difficult issue for families across the whole of the UK including my own. I love seeing my Nan, but with such a busy schedule and a long distance between us I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I would like. It's brilliant being able to share pictures with her online of what me and the rest of our family are up to, and when we can't be together it's the next best thing!”

John Pearson, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We all lead busy lives, and can struggle to find the time to visit older friends and family as often as we’d like. For those families who do not live near to each other, technology can bridge the gap between visits as it offers conversation and interaction on a regular basis. After 500 events staged today, hopefully we’ve helped make thousands of people feel more confident about using technology and they can now stay connected to loved ones who live far away.”

Stephen Harris, Chief Corporate & Strategy Officer at EE, said: “95% of job-seekers in the UK believe it’s difficult to find a job without understanding the internet, but there should not be any barriers to being online today. Together with our partners the Royal Voluntary Service and Jobcentre Plus we are looking to offer online access and training to groups who need the most support. Our events offer an informal environment for anyone looking to improve their digital skills over a cup of tea.”

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “Every day, Jobcentre Plus staff up and down the country are helping jobseekers gain the digital skills that modern businesses need. As part of our one nation government, we want to do even more to support people to build a career and achieve their full potential. That’s why Jobcentre Plus is supporting initiatives such as EE National Techy Tea Party day, so that more people have the right skills to find a job and stay in work.”

The Techy Tea Party campaign has already won the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award for its influence in boosting digital literacy. National Techy Tea Party Day 2015 is part of EE’s ongoing commitment to improve essential digital skills for anyone who needs a bit more support with everyday technology.

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About the research:

*EE commissioned independent research with One Poll of 1,000 UK adults over the age of 65, between 16 – 22 July 2015.

About EE’s Techy Tea Party initiative

EE launched Techy Tea Parties in October 2012 as part of the brand’s commitment to building the nation’s digital skills and to enable its employees to support an important social issue. Since launch over 3,000 EE employees have volunteered at over 600 Techy Tea Parties, in over 500 different locations, across EE’s store, offices, contact centres and in supporting community venues.

Through the Techy Tea Party initiative EE has helped over 6,000 guests with their tech challenges. Feedback from Techy Tea Parties has been extremely positive –

  • 9 out of 10 attendees learnt more about technology and the internet
  • 9 out of 10 attendees felt inspired and motivated to use technology as part of their regular day to day life.

EE has also launched consumer digital skills resources at that provide people with tips and tools to inspire their friends and family to get online, as well as e-safety advice for parents. This activity supports EE’s commitment to Go ON UK, a charity which EE is a Founder partner of.

About EE:

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 14,000 employees and 548 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012 and is the first European operator to surpass the 10million 4G customer landmark. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 90% of the UK population. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 74% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®; Best Network at the 2014 and 2015 Mobile News Awards; Fastest Network at the 2013 and 2014 uSwitch Awards; Best Network at the 2014 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and the What Mobile Awards 2013 and 2014; Number One for Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu Awards; Best Mobile Network at the 2014 Recombu Awards; Best Network for Business at the 2013 and 2014 Mobile Industry Awards; and Best Consumer Network at the 2014 Mobile Industry Awards

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About Royal Voluntary Service

  • Formerly known as WRVS, Royal Voluntary Service has been helping people in Britain for 75 years.
  • Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service in 1938, the charity played a crucial role during the Second World War.
  • Whilst keeping the same values of community service, Royal Voluntary Service has now focused its work on helping older people to remain independent and get more out of life.
  • Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary organisations in Britain with 35,000 men and women helping people in their homes, the community, hospitals and in emergencies.
  • The charity is a founding member of the Campaign to End Loneliness, a partner in the Big Lottery funded project, Shaping our Age, a supporter of the Malnutrition Task Force and a member of the Care and Support Alliance, the Falls and Fractures Alliance, Age Action Alliance and the Dementia Action Alliance.
  • Royal Voluntary Service has Investing in Volunteers status in recognition of its good practice and effective volunteer management.
  • For more information on the Royal Voluntary Service please visit