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City council and KCOM give Hull residents chance to get online for free

Thursday, June 23rd 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Hundreds of families in Hull are to get free internet access thanks to a joint initiative between Hull City Council and KCOM.

Up to 150 households in the Orchard Park area of the city will get a free home broadband connection for six months as part of a scheme to get more people online.

Residents taking part will also have the chance to loan a reconditioned laptop for six months.

More than 30 households have already signed up to the scheme and more participants are wanted.

Hull City Council said the project will be used to help create future initiatives to increase internet usage in Orchard Park and other parts of the city.

Councillor Alan Clark, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Getting online can really help improve lives: helping them save money, keep in touch with friends and family, shop, study, learn new skills and access services.

“Our work with KCOM is a great step towards helping residents with these things.

“This project in Orchard Park will help us learn the most important things we can do across the city to help residents with getting on the internet successfully.”

As well as supplying the home broadband connections, KCOM has also installed wi-fi hotspots in three local community centres – The Orchard Centre, the Parks Children’s Centre and the McMillan Children’s Centre – so visitors can get online using their own devices.

Advice and support for residents taking part in the scheme, or who need help getting online, will be available at a new drop-in centre.

'Trailblazers'

KCOM employees and volunteers from Hull charity Unity in Community will be at the The Bungalow at 53 Clanthorpe between 10am and 2pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Cllr Terry Geraghty, one of three councillors representing Orchard Park on Hull County Council, said: “These days, if you are not online you are excluded from so many aspects of what most people take for granted as part of everyday living.

“Even basic internet skills can transform lives and we are delighted that our constituents in Orchard Park and Greenwood are the trailblazers for this vitally important project.”

Sue Helmont, KCOM’s director of consumer services, said: “We know that many residents feel worried about using the internet for the first time and some don’t have access to the equipment needed or a friendly face to show them what to do.

“This project is about breaking down some of these barriers, in a relaxed atmosphere, to get more people in Hull online.”

Hull City Council’s libraries run regular internet courses, while KCOM holds ‘Get online’ drop-in sessions on the first Tuesday of the month from 9.30am to 11.30am at its Learning Zone in Carr Lane, Hull.

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