Start preparing your hall to get online during #VillageHallsWeek (guest post from Plymouth University)
Dr. Katherine Willis from Plymouth University has been at the forefront of a ‘Digital Neighbourhoods’ project and tells us that rural communities can benefit from digital access in their community venue, in order to overcome digital divides and enable local people to participate more actively in society. Their research has found that getting a village hall or community venue online can have a wide range of benefits such as increasing both the footfall and widening the range of activities taking place.
Plymouth University is supporting the first #VillageHallsWeek to celebrate village halls and the volunteers that manage them.
Rural communities are behind urban areas in terms of digital skills and connectivity. A village hall or community centre can provide the key venue this. It is possible to turn village halls and community centres into digital venues through installing a broadband connection, equipment and offering training for digital skills. This can help to support the viability of the venue and to play a key role in creating a strong community.
Drawing on these findings, Plymouth University researchers worked with ACRE and one of its member organisations Cornwall RCC, as well as a range of other organisations, to understand how they could enable and support rural village halls and community venues to get online.
Plymouth University is supporting the first #VillageHallsWeek to celebrate village halls and the volunteers that manage them. It is also pleased to announce that there is now a Digital Venue Toolkit, developed as a result of the Digital Neighbourhoods Project, to help local communities provide digital skills training and access in their village or parish hall or community centre so they can become the digital hub for the community.
Veronica Stansfield, Chair of the St Breward Memorial Hall committee in Cornwall told Plymouth University, ‘Many of our regular users are now using the Internet Connection and our IT equipment as part of their regular meetings and events. This includes local community groups use the equipment such as the Local History group and the Parish Council and the Art group’