An internet cafe is going to be set up at the Trinity Centre in Fishermead for those that have trouble accessing the web.
Five devices will be used to start the internet cafe, as a recent listening campaign involving 61 local residents showed that many had struggled to access the internet.
41% had trouble accessing it and 59% said they would use the internet cafe, according to Citizens:mk.
Local resident Ophelia Cole, Chair of Trinity Centre Management Committee, who has been trained by Citizens:mk, said: “I strongly believe in working with institutions who contribute towards developing residents and changing the negative press about Fishermead.
"It is my hope that this centre will one day become the hub where all residents meet to support and encourage each other, where those who are strong give a helping hand to those who are struggling.”
The laptops have been donated by Circular Computers, through Veritas Digital Services Ltd.’s Laptops4learning scheme which tackles digital inequality by the repair and reuse of surplus technology.
30 more laptops have been donated to a neighbouring school, Jubilee Wood Primary School, so that pupils can access the internet for school work while at home.
A survey of school pupils showed 114 pupils cannot access devices at home for school work. “What we have received will make a huge difference to them,” said head teacher Matt O’Brien. "It's good to work alongside others who take pride in the community and want to make it as good as possible for our children."
The laptops for both the Trinity Centre and Jubilee Wood Primary School were handed over by the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Mohammed Khan, at a celebration breakfast, organised by Citizens:mk.
To celebrate the handover, 28 children from Willows First School sang ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ to great applause.
The event was also attended by Debbie Gockelen, Assistant Principal of MK Academy secondary school, who said: “Our work with the community through Citizens:mk has encouraged active citizenship and empowered our students to make a difference in their communities. It’s good to be here and see other schools getting together to support digital inclusion.”
Sue Gowling, Founder of Veritas Digital Services, said: “We set up Laptops4learning back at the start of the pandemic to get sustainable, affordable tech and donations out to those in need. We are delighted to be able to help the Fishermead community and look forward to extending our work with Citizens:MK and Citizens UK”.
Rev Ian Herbert, a Trinity Centre trustee, said: “We need to reach out to residents who are digitally excluded. Working together with schools, faith and other community groups, we can.”