Internet access for Blackburn’s homeless pods

Published Monday 13 February 2023 at 14:35

Temporary accommodation which aims to support vulnerable groups is to receive free high speed internet access.

The 10 self-contained pods offer emergency accommodation for people who find themselves with no-where to live. The pods opened at the height of the Covid pandemic in December 2020 and are based at the former Shadsworth Leisure Centre site.

Broadband provider 6G Internet, which serves Blackburn and surrounding towns and cities, has announced they will install free internet at the row of pods.

The company said it had been running a campaign across the region to stop ‘digital exclusion’ and are donating 20% of their network for free to a range of causes.

Residents will be able to access services the Council and key agencies can offer to improve their circumstances, with the long-term aim of being supported to find secure and independent accommodation, employment and any mental health support that they need should they chose to accept it.

The Council manages the pods, and said the partnership would allow people to have access to vital services they need to help them improve their lives.

Digital Inclusion Manager Tara Murray said:

We have always been keen to support community and charitable initiatives in the areas we serve and we felt internet access was of paramount importance to residents here.

The pods are providing a life-line to people and we wanted to ensure they are able to access whatever services they may need. 

At 6G Internet we are proud to be doing our bit to support community groups and projects that are going that extra mile to assist the most vulnerable people in society.” 

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Cllr Phil Riley said:

This is a great initiative and a really nice offer which will really help out people currently living in the pods.

Having access to the internet adds to the process of normalising their lives and we know that when there’s no access to the internet you can’t engage on a digital level with the outside world.

The internet gives those living in the shelters the opportunity to get online and access the relevant documents, learn new skills and send emails to help them on their way to improving their lives.”

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