Over the next month thousands of older people will be given the opportunity to try a free internet taster session, thanks to charity Age Concern's Silver Surfers Festival which launches today.

The fear that older people will be left behind by the digital revolution has been at the forefront of Age Concern's activities for the last few years. Today's venture — the result of a partnership with Microsoft and Cable & Wireless — will give the over 55s a free internet taster at one of 75 locations across the UK.

"Participation in the internet revolution is an important factor in the full social inclusion of older people, particularly as more public services go online. We are [working to provide] even more older people with access and the confidence to user computers and the internet, to help make later life fulfilling, enjoyable and productive," said Gordon Lishman, director general at Age Concern.

According to research form the Office of National Statistics, only 15 percent of those aged over 65 have tried the internet. Age Concern believes this is down to a combination of factors, including cost, difficulties with vision and a perception that they don't need a computer, all of which are issues it hopes the campaign can begin to address.

The charity's own research revealed a massive 66 percent of older people who used the internet believed it has had a positive impact on their lives.

"We are not going to allow the digital divide to grow. I'm delighted that Age Concern is to ensure older people realise the benefits that the internet can bring to their lives," added e-Envoy Andrew Pinder.

For information of your local centre and how to participate click here.