Berwick tenants pilot web scheme

Bernie Hogg

Bernie Hogg

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Berwick Borough Housing tenants are taking part in a pilot scheme to help people get internet access.

Successful applicants have now received computers and are online under the initiative, which is being co-ordinated by Northumberland County Council, bringing together a number of housing associations.

The scheme, which hopes to analyse the benefits of being online, including having access to information about housing services, welfare payments and the NHS, was borne out of the council’s aim to try and bring superfast broadband to every property in the county by 2020.

Bernie Hogg, operations manager at Berwick Borough Housing, said: “We are keen to get as many of our customers online as possible for their own benefit.

“Living in some parts of Northumberland, there are still challenges around the broadband infrastructure.

“We are therefore pleased to see this initiative launched as part of a larger project to bring broadband to the vast majority of the county, including our customers.”

Durham University is currently working with the selected tenants to gather information on how they use their computers, which websites they visit and whether or not they feel that they are benefitting from being online.

The project will also include examining access to social media websites to see if this reduces any feelings of isolation.

In 2012, 33 million adults - almost 60 per cent of the general population, accessed the internet every day. Currently, however, among those living in social housing the figure is significantly lower, with just 30 per cent of Berwick Borough Housing’s tenants online.

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