AN award-winning digital project at a Bournemouth school has received a stamp of approval from the government.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude visited Avonbourne College to see its Digi Steps programme in action.

The programme links Year 8 “buddies” with senior citizens from the community to teach the older generation how to use the internet.

It has already won a Big Society Award, the British Interactive Media Association Award and a Diana Award.

The minister met senior “students” Keren Tanswell and Robin Long during his visit to the Harewood Avenue college.

And Mr Maude said he would like to see similar projects rolled out at schools across the country.

“This project encourages older people who may have felt intimidated by the internet to get involved with it” he said.

“More and more activities will take place online in the future, including government services.

“This is an approach that ticks so many boxes.

“It gets young people into the habit of helping others because we need a strong society where young people grow up knowing that we all depend on each other.”

The event was also attended by Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood.

He said: “I am delighted to see that Digi Steps continues to thrive.

“It is now gaining interest from national government as illustrated by the minister’s presence here today and it ensures that the older generation keep up with the changes. Many congratulations to Avonbourne.”