Free WiFi makes a big difference for Cambridge community centre

Free public access WiFi is making a big difference for many users of The Meadows Community Centre, which serves several housing estates in Arbury on the edge of Cambridge, with many families on low incomes.

The busy centre has over 71,000 visitors each year and is seeing growing numbers of people connecting to the free CambWifi service since it was went live in March 2015.

They include: young parents bringing children to nursery, college students doing research, people working or socialising in the café, attending meetings, training and advice sessions, or taking part in a wide range of sports and fitness classes.

Local youth clubs are providing laptops for young people to access the Internet, using the secure CambWifi service, under the supervision of youth workers.

Jackie Hanson, who oversees the centre for Cambridge City Council said: “We are really pleased to have free CambWifi, which is much easier to use, more reliable and available across the centre. It’s also secure with all the right filters, which is very important.

“People use the centre for a wide range of different activities and being able to get free CambWifi makes a big difference. We have a lot of people on low incomes who can’t afford access to the Internet at home so it means they can come into the café, buy a coffee and connect with their family or work.

“People hiring our rooms, such as support workers, use CambWifi to access information to help them and their customers. We also have computers to help people with job seeking and computer drop-in sessions, where they can learn to use technology.

“WiFi is part of everyday life now. People expect to stay connected wherever they are.”

CambWifi is available in over 100 public buildings in Cambridge and beyond including council offices, libraries, children’s centres, Park and Ride sites, leisure centres, sheltered housing and community hubs.

The public access network has been developed by the Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership of local councils with funding from the Government’s SuperConnected Cities scheme.

View a map and list of Public WiFi locations at http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/public-wifi