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Continued access to technology helps grow smart communities

Media release – 20 August 2014

Continued access to technology helps grow smart communities

The government’s commitment to the national Computers in Homes digital literacy programme is continuing.

This means at least another 100 families in our district will have the chance to receive a refurbished computer, subsidised internet connection and training and technical support.

The programme has been delivered in Whanganui for eight years, with 770 families taking part so far.

Computers in Homes co-ordinator Tania van der Vegte said “Of the participating families, 85% are taking advantage of the subsidy and signing up to the internet at home. The internet empowers people in many ways. Children are able to do their homework and research their interests. Their parents are able to do further study online and apply for jobs as well as do everyday things, like internet banking.”

Since the beginning of July, Computer in Homes’ national body, the 2020 Communications Trust, has been managing the programme in Whanganui, aligning it with its national framework.

Previously, this programme was managed from within the Wanganui District Council, with input from the Digicom group, which was chaired by Cr Jack Bullock. The Council continues to work with Computers in Homes through a memorandum of understanding with the Wanganui District Library and will be represented on the steering group.

The Awa City Clubhouse, which was also overseen by Digicom, became part of the Wanganui District Library services on July 1.

Mayor Annette Main said “Census results tell us that out of more than 17,000 local households, 6500 don’t yet have any access to the internet. In a fast changing world we know that internet access and the skills to use technology are becoming increasingly necessary to our day to day lives.”

Cr Bullock said “I know that the future on-line capacity of our community is in good hands with the guidance of the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum, the new Computers in Homes steering group and the Library Management Team. Loads of people and groups are on-board with closing the ‘digital divide’ and I’m pleased to see this recognised through funding and support at a national and local level.”

ENDS

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