6Gi – Internet for Everyone – Preston.

Preston, LancashireTo date, the 6Gi, internet for everyone initiative has been focussed largely in the Blackburn and Darwen areas, where we are working with schools, charities and community groups, to help people get online.

As the 6Gi network continues to grow, we are now in a position to launch the initiative in neighbouring Preston.

Already we have created links with the Preston based social landlord, Onward Homes and three local schools.

Scott Brerton, Social Investment Specialist at Onward Homes, observed that,

“Having access to the internet is something that most of us take for granted but for some families, it’s simply unaffordable. Working with 6Gi has enabled a number of families across our neighbourhoods to have free internet access. This, alongside the laptop lending libraries we’ve worked together on with some local schools, has enabled many young people in the area to have equality of opportunity, being able to access online learning during the current pandemic.”

In addition to the work with individual families, we have also provided free connectivity for some local community centres, including the Foxton Centre on Knowsley Street.

The centre’s Team Manager, Lara Budd, acknowledged the value of the support from the 6Gi internet for everyone initiative.

“The free Wi-Fi connection at The Foxton Centre, Preston, means that the homeless community and other vulnerable groups can access essential services on the internet. It will also make it easier for people who are experiencing a tough time to stay in contact with friends and family. The level of service we received from 6Gi at the centre was excellent and installation was very straight forward.”

Ian Clough, who leads the 6Gi internet for everyone initiative, is keen to develop new links in the Preston area.

“As in Blackburn and Darwen up to 20% of our network is being made available to support local digital inclusion work, I would urge any Preston based organisation with an interest in helping people to get online, to get in touch with me.” (ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk)

The Blackburn based Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO) charity initially began its work in 2006.

IMO CharityIts overriding aim was and remains, “to work with and enable communities to improve their quality of life and be more resilient.

Two of the key areas that it focuses its attention on are Health & Wellbeing and Education & Employability.

As both access to health services and access to educational resources have increasingly become an “on line” only option, having an internet connection at home has moved rapidly from being a “nice to have,” to an essential resource.

For many families on lower or uncertain incomes however, cost and long-term contract has proved an insurmountable barrier, a problem brought into sharp focus by the various Covid-19 restrictions.

6G Internet has always adopted the principle of “internet for all” and has committed to make up to 20% of its network available free of charge.

Linking with IMO is therefore a natural fit.

IMO Chief Executive, Stephen Jones said,

Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of digital exclusion within our communities, especially amongst vulnerable groups. So, being able to work with “6G Internet” to identify and secure free internet access and keep them connected has been invaluable to the families we are supporting through this crisis.”

6G Internet are delighted to be working with IMO and will continue to do so to achieve the shared aim of ensuring that the internet is a resource for all.

If you would like to work with our “6G Internet for everyone” programme, please contact us at https://www.6gdsi.co.uk/contact or email Ian Clough at ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk.

6G Internet for everyone

Helping Age UK to Bridge the Digital Divide

Age UK Blackburn and DarwenAge UK are committed to providing life enhancing services to older people in the community.

Befriending services, advice services and neighbourly volunteering are just a few examples of the fantastic help they provide for the elderly.

Their digital buddies support older people in becoming more tech savvy, which has never been more relevant and important as now, during the current pandemic.

With this in mind, 6G Internet identified a way to help older people who are digitally excluded and missing out on this valuable support.

John Verity, Age UK Blackburn and Darwen Digital Inclusion Development Manager said;

Lack of affordable broadband is one of the main factors that leads to digital exclusion amongst older people. Working with 6G Internet as partners has enabled Age UK Blackburn with Darwen to help older people to get connected free of charge. This allows them to experience the many benefits of digital technology such as keeping in touch with friends and family, shopping online and using health services online

According to the Office for National Statistics, over two thirds of the digitally excluded are over 65 years of age.

6G Internet believe there should be Internet for All and work tirelessly to achieve this by donating 20% of internet bandwidth to disadvantaged and socially excluded groups.

Many essential services are now carried out online, such as ordering prescriptions and applying for benefits. Older people without internet access, are being left behind and are at huge disadvantage compared with their online peers.

6G Internet’s free internet, along with the IT courses provided by Age UK, mean that people have access to the necessary resources and don’t need to feel out of their depth online.

Once connected, Social Networks become within reach. This means the elderly can stay in touch with loved ones, swap photos and Social Isolation can feel that little bit less lonely.

6G Internet are committed to bridging the digital divide and look forward to a future where there is 6G Internet for everyone.