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Local MP and long-time broadband campaigner Rory Stewart has nominated Ravenstonedale Parish Council, accountable body for the Fell End Community Broadband project, for the national TalkTalk Digital Heroes awards of 2012. The annual awards are run by TalkTalk in association with Citizens Online and 'Go ON UK', and will be given to twelve winners voted for by the public, recognising “people who harness digital technology to bring about positive social change in their communities.” There is a top prize of £10,000, and runner-up prizes of £5,000 and free broadband access for 12 months.
Rory Stewart MP said: “This is the year in which we have finally seen our hard work in getting Cumbria the best superfast broadband in Europe bear fruit. The nation continues to look to Cumbria as the pioneering county that will demonstrate how we can bring super-fast broadband to our most remote communities. Fell End Broadband and Ravenstonedale Parish Council have worked tirelessly to develop their own broadband solution. This project has been made possible thanks to the great investment of time and energy by a group of dedicated local volunteers.
"Often taking time from work at their own expense to travel the length and breadth of the country to meet with telecommunications suppliers, civil servants and Government Ministers, Fell End Broadband has worked hard to ensure that infrastructure investment is spent wisely and delivers a service that is fit for the future and appropriate to the community it will serve - at a fraction of the cost that might have been charged by a more prescriptive, one-size-fits-all solution. A £5,000 grant would enable the Fell End Broadband project to do more work beyond the infrastructure delivery by creating public internet access points in public buildings on the network, including an education establishment for disabled children, a community place of worship, and a public house, and could also be used to provide training and support to the older residents of the network community who do not currently use computers, and yet have still given this project their full support."
More information about the TalkTalk Digital Heroes awards can be found at http://www.talktalk.co.uk/digitalheroes/