THE residents of St Breward could be doing more of their Christmas shopping online this year.
A new superfast fibre broadband connection has just been installed at the St Breward Institute and War Memorial Hall and internet novices are getting training and advice on how to make the most of the new technology.
Superfast Cornwall helped the hall with the broadband installation process and is now providing weekly beginners' IT courses at the venue through Get IT Together, a joint initiative between BT and national charity Citizens Online.
Jay Chapman, Get IT Together Cornwall project co-ordinator, who is leading the training, said "We're teaching people how to use a computer, often for the first time, and showing them the ways the internet can help them in their daily lives, whether it is connecting with family and friends through Skype, shopping online or searching for jobs. We've also teamed up with Cornwall Rural Community Council's Get F+IT Project to show learners how they can save money on bills by using comparison sites."
Veronica Stansfield, secretary of the memorial hall, said: "We have a lot of demand for this type of training, so it's a fantastic opportunity to be able to provide courses on people's doorsteps, meaning they don't have to travel far and can learn in a venue they are familiar with."
After many years of slow broadband or no broadband at all, residents in St Breward are now able to experience superfast broadband speeds up to 80Mbps – more than five times the national average. In addition to the support being provided by Superfast Cornwall, the hall committee has also been successful in securing funding from The Co-operative Community Fund, Cornwall Council and The South West Foundation to cover the costs of line rental and broadband at the venue for a five-year period.
This comes after £80,000 was secured from a number of organisations to undertake refurbishments at the hall during the past year. Dennis Champion, chairman of St Breward Institute and War Memorial Hall, added: "Having a superfast broadband connection is a real boost to the hall as it can be used to support so many other activities as well as the IT sessions.
"Following the refurbishment carried out this year we now have a fantastic venue available to local organisations to hire, and superfast really is the icing on the cake.''