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Funding to help communities go digital

More people will be able to access computers and the internet in their local community as funding to buy computer equipment is being made available to a wider range of venues and facilities in the county.

The popular community technology grant is aimed at enabling residents to access equipment to get connected to the internet within their communities.  To date over 36 grants have been awarded to parish councils or village halls to purchase a range of computer equipment.  People in different parts of the county are now developing their computer skills and connecting to the internet as a result of the fund.

The criteria has now widened to include any sort of venue that will enable any member of the public to access IT equipment, using it for training, communication or simply allowing people access to equipment who would not otherwise be able to.

National and local government funding along with private sector investment is due to make Herefordshire at the forefront of broadband access in rural areas via the Borders Broadband project.  The community technology grant is a way of preparing residents, businesses and community organisations for the transformation to come.

Cllr Graham Powell, Cabinet Member for Education and Infrastructure said “access to the internet can open up massive opportunities for people and we don’t want anyone to miss out on that opportunity”.  He continued “there is always a challenge in ensuring people can get the services they need when they need them, especially in rural areas.  The internet is one way of addressing this challenge”.

In a survey conducted for the Borders Broadband project a key reason why people do not access the internet is because of cost.  Equipment purchased as a result of the community technology grant will give people chance to access the internet at their local venues.

There are two rounds with deadlines of 17 October 2012 and 28 November 2012.  For criteria and application contact Delegated Grants on 01432 260753 or email delegatedgrants@herefordshire.gov.uk.  You can also visit our website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/community_and_living/neighbourhood/58132.asp.