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Rural village sees free internet service installed to help unemployed

By CMJoshBarrie  |  Posted: October 08, 2013

DCH Group staff (first and second right) and councillor Sue James (third from right) present volunteers and trustees at the facility two cheques totalling £750

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A RURAL village has a new free internet service for unemployed people to look for work and stay in touch with family and friends.

The Centre of Pendeen, a volunteer-led community centre, has been given a grant of £500 from Devon and Cornwall Housing Group to allow its residents free access to the web, which has also been upgraded to superfast broadband at the site.

One jobseeker said computer and internet prices are untenable while on benefits, while adding limited transport and rising fuel costs make life more difficult to look for work.

Ken Barton, 50, who lives in Pendeen, has been searching for a job for around two years.

“I can’t afford a computer,” he said. “The centre is ideal for me because out here in the sticks anyone who doesn’t have internet access will be able to use and benefit from the service.

“It’s a really good addition - lots of people use it. I’ve had to travel into Penzance just to go online so this will help immensely.”

He also said the resource will make keeping in contact with loved ones easier.

Volunteer and trustee Sandra Coak is also excited about the prospect.

“I think it will be a wonderful facility - it will be good for the centre and will be used by as many people as possible.

“We wanted to help people who are in a rural community.

“We’re happy to be able to provide this.”

Both Mr Barton and Mrs Coak also noted future changes to how people apply for benefits will make internet access a requirement.

Mr Barton said the new process has been rolled out in the North West, where his roots lie.

“When these come into affect people without a computer will be stuffed,” he added.

Cornwall councillor Sue James also secured £250 worth of funding from the council to allow anyone on low incomes or in privately rented accommodation access to the service.

A presentation of the money was held on Monday.

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