The arrival of high-speed broadband in Alnwick has helped to secure the future of the St James’s Church Centre.
The church has found that installing fibre broadband has attracted a new flock of customers – helping to boost church funds and cover running costs.
Centre manager, Liz Spence, said having it installed helps to assure the church’s future role as a community hub for Alnwick.
She said: “Eight years ago, the church underwent a big redevelopment. We’re now able to hire out the whole building if we need to. The primary reason for doing so was that we wanted to offer facilities that would be a valuable asset to the whole town.
“Having fibre has enabled us to attract more clients and also support a number of other smaller, self-supporting organisations that are involved in the local community. Many of them need internet access to support the activities they are doing and will ask if there is wifi access before booking.”
After upgrading to superfast broadband a year ago, Liz said the church was now regularly used as a training venue for community-based carers by the learning and development unit of the NHS Trust and also for sessions three days a week for job-seekers on the work programme provided by Northumberland County Council on behalf of PeoplePlus – one of the prime contractors in the county.
Liz said: “One of the main reasons for them coming to us is because we have the superfast broadband access.
“The people looking for work rely on computers to get online and search for jobs or prepare to get back into work.
“The NHS Trust trainers use the wifi access to stream online instructional videos or to download slide presentations.
“We had internet access before, but we only had enough bandwidth to support two computers at the most. With superfast, we can provide wifi across the whole building and everyone can get online at the same time.”