Superfast forward for St Breward IT Learners
New superfast broadband connection for St Breward Institute & War Memorial Hall enables villagers to learn about the benefits of accessing the Internet in time for Christmas.
The residents of the remote, moorland village of St Breward could be doing more of their Christmas shopping online this year. A new superfast fibre broadband connection has just been installed at the village’s Institute and War Memorial Hall and internet novices are getting training and advice on how to make the most of the new technology.
Superfast Cornwall helped the hall with the broadband installation process and is now providing weekly beginners’ IT courses at the venue through Get IT Together, a joint initiative between BT and national charity Citizens Online.
Jay Chapman, Get IT Together Cornwall Project Coordinator who is leading the training, said “We’re teaching people how to use a computer, often for the first time, and showing them the many ways that the Internet can help them in their daily lives, whether it is connecting with family and friends through Skype, shopping online or searching for jobs. We’ve also teamed up with Cornwall Rural Community Council’s Get F+IT Project to show learners how they can save money on household bills by using comparison sites”.
Veronica Stansfield, secretary of the Memorial Hall, said “We have a lot of demand for this type of training from the local population, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to provide courses on people’s doorsteps, meaning that they don’t have to travel far and can learn together in a venue that they are familiar with.”
St Breward is situated on the western edge of Bodmin Moor with some of the highest ground in Cornwall. After many years of slow broadband or no broadband at all, residents in the village are now able to experience superfast broadband speeds as high as 80Mbps – more than 5 times the national average.
Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT, said: “The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in St Breward demonstrates the success of the Superfast Cornwall partnership in getting this exciting technology to even the most remote locations. But we have always been clear that the partnership is also about helping people make the most of the technology - through initiatives such as Get IT Together - as well as making faster broadband widely available.”
Nigel Ashcroft, programme director of Superfast Cornwall for Cornwall Development Company, said “Superfast Cornwall is recognised as the leading superfast broadband rural infrastructure project in Europe and we’ve now reached more than 80% of properties in Cornwall, including some very hard to reach areas such as St Breward. Digital inclusion is a vital part of our programme and working with partners we’ve already helped more than 2,000 people learn how to benefit from accessing the Internet. We’re delighted to be supporting the Memorial Hall and providing much needed training to members of the community”.
In addition to the support being provided by Superfast Cornwall, the hall committee has also been successful in securing funding from The Co-operative Community Fund, Cornwall Council and The South West Foundation to cover the costs of line rental and broadband at the venue for a 5 year period. And this comes after a total of £80,000 was secured from a number of organisations to undertake extensive refurbishments at the hall during the past year.
Dennis Champion, Chairman of St Breward Institute & War Memorial Hall, added: “Having a superfast broadband connection is a real boost to the hall as it can be used to support so many other activities as well as the IT sessions. Following the refurbishment that has been carried out this year we now have a fantastic venue that is available to local organisations to hire, and superfast really is the icing on the cake. We are very grateful to the various funders that have helped to make this possible.”
Having access to the Internet can bring many benefits, however recent statistics show that about 15% of adults in Cornwall have never used the Internet. Superfast Cornwall is addressing the very real issues of digital exclusion by working with partner organisations and community groups to deliver basic IT training. The programme has already helped more than 2,000 people use the internet for the first time and has supported community venues in areas such as Whitstone, Liskeard, Bodmin, Leedstown and Penzance to install a broadband connection. A key part of the programme is the Superfast Cornwall Volunteer Network, which is recruiting volunteers with some computer experience right across Cornwall to help others to get to grips with using computers. Volunteers are still being sought; more information can be found at www.superfastcornwall.org.
The £132 million Superfast Cornwall partnership between the European Union, BT and Cornwall has now made the high-speed technology available to over 207,000 Cornish premises – 82 per cent of the total – and aims to reach 95 per cent by the end of next year. Alternative technologies, such as satellite and advanced copper solutions, will be used to boost broadband speeds in locations where optical fibre is not currently viable.
To see if you can place an order visit www.superfastcornwall.org.
About the Convergence Programme
The Superfast Cornwall Programme is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (2007 to 2013) Convergence Programme. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/browse/business/funding-debt/european-regional-development-funding www.convergencecornwall.com
Up to £53.5 million of the funding is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme, the largest ever single European investment in broadband infrastructure, whilst BT is investing up to £78.5 million.
About Cornwall Development Company
Cornwall Development Company Ltd is the arms length economic development company for Cornwall Council. Further information is available at www.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk.