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Contact: Rachel Fry (Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership)
Tel: 01932 797830
e-mail: rfry@brooklands.ac.uk
web: www.surreyllp.org.uk

Background

The project was developed by the Mole Valley Community Learning Partnership. Membership of the Box Hill Project group:

  • Central Surrey Council for Voluntary Service
  • Mid Surrey, Adult Community Learning
  • NESCOT (Epsom's College of further and higher education)
  • Mole Valley District Council
  • Local residents
  • County Councillor for Dorking North, Surrey County Council (Hazel Watson)
  • Surrey County Council Community Services ? Libraries
  • Community Learning Adviser for Elmbridge and Mole Valley, Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership (Rachel Fry)

41% of the Box Hill community are over 60 years old, 7% are under 15 and the majority of all residents live in mobile homes. There are 806 dwellings, 515 of these are mobile homes. According to Rachel Fry, the co-ordinator for the project, "the aim when devising the project was to offer outreach provision and learning opportunities and to encourage community cohesion. The residents of this community are facing issues relating to social deprivation, poor access to services, facilities, leisure, eligibility for social housing and age related poverty".


The role of Broadband

The aim of the project was toencourage the residents of the Village to access and add to the BBC People's War website. [The aim of the People's War project is to create a free national archive of World War 2 memories and stories].

Funded by Home Front Recall and the Big Lottery, and with a grant from Connected Surrey, the partnership provided a broadband connection and six laptops in the Box Hill Village Hall. The project was also supported by Microsoft who donated the software.

The project opened with two training sessions: AnIntroduction to Computers and An Introduction to Internet and Email, both of which weredelivered by Tech It Up (mobile IT provision).

The next six weeks were pre-booked, tutored sessions in IT and memory collation (ie. helping people to remember and formulate their stories) with tutors being provided by Adult Community Learning (ACL). Further sessions were drop-in, focussed on the People's War project primarily although people were entitled to take advantage of the free tuition for other computer-based activities. All learning was provided free to participants. Both the ACL and drop in sessions were supported by local volunteers. Additionally, the BBC provided Story Gatherer training for six volunteers.

Results achieved and future expectations:

The project has been extremely successful with all sessions being fully booked. Many of the those attending have been enthused and continue to develop their IT skills. The provision of broadband has enabled residents to access internet based services such as e-mail, banking, shopping and entertainment and thus helping to overcome some of the problems caused by social deprivation.

Further funding is being sort to allow the project to continue.


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