Help your community in the superfast race

Kenneth Jorgensen, digital champion in Alnwick.
Kenneth Jorgensen, digital champion in Alnwick.

As part of the county’s push for superfast broadband, the council’s project team is working with a network of passionate local volunteers.

These digital champions work within their communities to help spread the word on the iNorthumberland campaign while registering local demand for better broadband.

It is these local registrations which the campaign team can then use to lobby funders and commercial providers for early upgrades.

And as part of the Gazette’s push to back the bid, we want to encourage people to become digital champions for their communities.

The champions receive guidance and support from the main team, but how they choose to conduct themselves is down to them.

There are no time requirements or obligations, so volunteers can select how much or little time they spend on activities depending on their own commitments.

Similarly, volunteers can choose the size of area they wish to cover; this could be anything from a single street, through to an entire village or town.

The team is currently working with 16 digital champions across the county. In some of the areas where the volunteers have been most active, the campaign has registered 100 per cent of the local population as wanting superfast broadband.

This has proven to be really helpful for the campaign team as they have been able to develop funding bids and hold informed discussions with suppliers to push for improved services.

If you are interested in becoming a digital champion, contact John Cooper in the iNorthumberland team on john.cooper@northumberland.gov.uk or 01670 623 415.

One of those who has already signed up is Alnwick’s Kenneth Jorgensen, who is encouraging others to get involved too.

“It is really great to see people in Alnwick sign up support for the campaign but now we would challenge everyone to find just two or three other people who will also sign up,” he said.

“Everyone can become a digital champion in a big or small way by simply getting others to sign up.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to see what postcodes would have the highest sign-up percentage? In fact, those are likely to be the phone cabinets to be changed first.”

l Linda Weddell, who was struggling to set up a B&B in Alnwick as she was unable to get phone and broadband set up, has had some joy since we reported her problems last week.

BT contacted her and a phone line was being installed thie week.