Tenants get a chance to log on for free

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FREE computer and broadband access for six months is being offered to Northumberland tenants.

A new pilot project has been launched among four social landlords in the county, offering 200 tenants the chance to benefit.

The initiative is being led by the county council’s iNorthumberland team to demonstrate the benefits of being online.

Currently, the area is one of the least connected in the country, with one in five people not yet online, often due to the cost of a computer and broadband connection.

People taking part in the scheme will have the use of a computer for free, as well as free Internet access for six months and technical support in return for completing regular surveys about their Internet use.

Isos housing association will have 50 places available to tenants.

Community Involvement Team Leader Sara Parker-Clark said: “People without Internet access can miss out on opportunities that those online can benefit from.

“There is plenty of evidence to show that online households are more likely to switch to the best value electricity provider, save money on their food shopping and find it easier to apply for jobs and access services like housing and benefits.

“We want our residents to have access to those opportunities and this project gives them a chance of that for free.”

Northumberland Digital Inclusion Project Manager Rajendra Carter added: “This is an exciting project and one we believe is the first of its kind in the UK.

“We’ve already had quite a bit of interest from national government, who are keen to hear about our findings at the end.”

Successful applicants will receive their computer and connection in November.

Anyone wishing to be considered should contact Isos for an application form on 0300 300 1505. Applications must be submitted by Friday, September 21.