Greenock neighbourhood to get free Wi-fi in regeneration project

From left, Peter Reed-Forrester, managing director of CommunityUK; Ann McNab, resident; Colette Sinclair, Futureskills Inverclyde; Linda Gallacher, resident; Albert Henderson, chairman of the River Clyde Homes Board.

From left, Peter Reed-Forrester, managing director of CommunityUK; Ann McNab, resident; Colette Sinclair, Futureskills Inverclyde; Linda Gallacher, resident; Albert Henderson, chairman of the River Clyde Homes Board.

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Residents of the John Street area of Greenock received an early Christmas present in the form of completely free, high-speed wireless broadband and digital skills support as part of an extensive neighbourhood regeneration programme.

The Inverclyde based housing association River Clyde Homes has partnered with digital inclusion consultancy, CommunityUK.net Ltd, on one of the first projects of its kind in Scotland.

The service has been available for use by John Street residents over the past few months. Residents have been able to access the network from wireless hotspots placed strategically around the John Street area to provide complete coverage into and around homes.

The project provides residents with a completely free 4mb service, a range of low cost increased speed services for those who want them and their very own ‘Hyper-Local Community Web Portal’ with links to housing information, careers guidance, digital skills training, benefits and welfare advice and much more.

Peter Reed-Forrester, Managing Director of CommunityUK said: “It has been a real privilege to partner with River Clyde Homes on such an important project that is the just the start of an ongoing initiative that aims to help Greenock to become one of Scotland’s exemplar Digital Communities. We are looking forward to being part of this journey for a long time to come.”

Albert Henderson MBE, chair of the River Clyde Homes board, said: “Digital inclusion is something of a priority for us at River Clyde Homes.

“With the increasing development of online services; electronic communication is now a crucial part of everyday life.

“We understand that not everyone has access to the Internet or has an email account, so projects like this make a real difference. We hope that this is just the first of a number of community WiFi projects that we will introduce in the coming years.”

Heather Houston, a John Street resident and member of the residents’ committee, said: “It’s fast and easy to use and has made a real difference. The kids have been using it to do their homework on their tablets, I’ve been applying for jobs and I’ve even done some online Christmas shopping. It’s making life just that little bit easier.”

River Clyde Homes will also be working closely with FutureskillsInverclyde, the Big Lottery Funded project, who will be on hand to help make sure that residents can make the most of their new connectivity and develop their digital skills.

The launch event for this ambitious project was held just in time for Christmas on Thursday 17th December 2015 and was celebrated in true community fashion, with the three organisations making the day fun and informative! Residents were able to grab some free food, freebies, collect their free wireless router and had the chance to learn more about the benefits of the unique service on offer.

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