Breakthrough project to bring free internet access to estate

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Organisers hope that new scheme can prove a blueprint for the rest of the country


Organisers of a project which will bring free internet access to a Sheffield council estate have said they hope the project will act as a blueprint for the rest of the UK.

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Organisers of the Dryden project are also hoping to set up online community forums in which residents can contact the local council, as well as providing access to doctors, schools and church services on a Sunday. An optional tariff for residents has also been proposed, in which those that feel able to pay for the internet at a reduced rate can opt in to do so. This money would then be put into a community bank, which residents are then able to use in ways they see fit.

Lloyd Samuels of SY-NC said: "One thing we saw over lockdown is that mental health declined, and in spaces like this, that is really visible. "This is about giving them back power, it's about saying: 'how can we support you out of this situation, and how can we empower you to then turn round and help your mate that is in the same situation? So you can do it together, and as a community you all can rise'." South Yorkshire's Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: "Increasingly, services are only delivered online - yet people who don't have access to the internet don't have those opportunities and can't take advantage of some of those services. "We want everybody to have those opportunities - and most of all we want communities like Southey Green to have these opportunities -that's why we started here. And If we can pioneer this here, then why can't we look at the success here and deliver it elsewhere?"