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Fibrus Community Fund awards over £9,000 to address digital poverty

7 months ago · 3 min read
Telecommunications and broadband provider, Fibrus Networks Ltd, has announced the first round of funding awards to address digital poverty in rural Northern Ireland, with their partner the Community Foundation.
Fibrus Community Fund awards over £9,000 to address digital poverty

Following the launch of the £55,000 fund earlier in 2021, Fibrus which is currently bringing full fibre broadband to areas across rural Northern Ireland, has supported nine community organisations in this first round, awarding £9,725.

Successful groups include Maghera Cross Community Link who will use the award to fund the purchase of hard drives and laptops to prevent disadvantaged young people from falling further behind in their studies.

Roisin Wood, CEO Community Foundation for Northern Ireland commented: “Coronavirus has highlighted the need for communities to remain connected and many groups and charities working with those most vulnerable in our communities are telling us that a strong and sustainable broadband connection in rural communities is vital. This funding enables local organisations to provide access to digital technology for the most vulnerable, especially those individuals in rural areas and begin to address the digital divide.”

A recent study of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas found that a third believe it’s more important than ever to feel close to loved ones following the isolation suffered last year. The Fund will go some way to ensuring people in rural communities have a very “connected” Christmas.

Enabling rural communities to stay connected online, the Fibrus Community Fund awards grants of up to £1,000 to support local groups and organisations, to provide access to digital technology for the most vulnerable. Particularly focusing on supporting grassroots organisations that support older people and young people aged 18 and under.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons also commented: “The pandemic has changed the lives of us all and for many this has included how we work, live and socialise. There is now more than ever a great reliance on digital connectivity and ensuring everyone has access to fast and reliable broadband.”

Fibrus Managing Director David Armstrong added: “The awarding of our first round of grants is particularly pertinent as we reach the height of the festive period when the vulnerable or disadvantaged in our communities feel it most. With recent research finding that almost a fifth of people feel lonely during the festive season without any access to technology we are delighted to be connecting communities this Christmas through the Fibrus Community Fund.”

This fund will re-open for applications on the 10th of January via the Community Foundation website, www.communityfoundationni.org.