How technology can help deliver vibrant and inclusive economies

ICT can help regeneration programmes deliver economic and social benefits by:

Upskilling residents

Many people who do not have formal qualifications find themselves just as able to develop ICT skills as those who've successfully negotiated formal education. Providing technology is introduced in ways in which people find interesting and useful, people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods find ICT no more daunting than anyone else. Virtually all jobs now or in the very near future will demand ICT literacy. Enabling residents to gain these skills puts them in pole position to enter the job market.

Improving communications

ICT allows residents to better communicate with each other, with regeneration staff and with other public agencies and community organisations. A Neighbourhood Area Network (NAN) could link up residents and provide a website for the community. The website could also integrate a whole range of community information and act as a 'community interface' to accessing public services electronically. A NAN would also support fast, two way communication and consultation between residents and regeneration staff. It could support management of the regeneration programme by enabling better communication between everyone involved in delivering it.

Helping small businesses

Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and ICT is increasingly the lifeblood of SMEs. These businesses now comprise at least 95% of all UK companies. Already most need to operate within an electronic environment and in the very near future all of them will need to. Regeneration programmes can help fast track regeneration by helping small businesses develop the ICT skills they need to compete. Training and support is vital and a Neighbourhood Area Network would provide an electronic trading environment for companies to trade locally and develop the skills they need to access markets electronically.

Broadband - the asset for successful communities

We strongly believe that the most important asset any regeneration programme can leave as its legacy to the economic transformation of an area is a broadband telecommunications infrastructure. Broadband provides fast, always on digital communication. It allows high quality video, music, television, computer games, complex data, telephony and Internet to be used simultaneously within a household or business. BT's current 'broadband' offering is neither fast enough to deliver this nor cheap enough for most in regeneration areas to be able to afford it. There are alternatives that could deliver this multimedia vision at reasonable cost. We are working with companies such as Cisco to develop business models that will enable regeneration partnerships to build affordable broadband communications.

By ensuring that affordable, real broadband is ubiquitous in your neighbourhood you will make it an attractive place for businesses to locate. You will also encourage skilled residents to stay and attract other professional people to move in.

More importantly, by owning the infrastructure, the local community will be able to continue to leverage a range of sustainable revenue opportunities long after the regeneration programme has ceased.

We work with a range of regeneration professionals and local people to develop cost effective ICT projects that will help them deliver their objectives.

Here are more in depth details of two of our most recent projects with client feedback :
Community ICT Centres - Havant Case Study
An overview of how 10 community ICT centrtes were set up in Havant, Portsmouth, as part of the Governments UK Online strategy
Wired Up Communities - Blackburn Case Study
Summary presentation of how homes in a deprived area were 'connected' as part of the DfES community access programme
Intelligent Neighbourhoods Paper
Presentation paper outlining how connected neighbourhoods can be established and the social and economical benefits that can result. The paper was prepared for the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and offers best practice guides in:

Building and managing neighbourhood Intranets

Providing public access to ICT

Developing content for disadvantaged communities

How ICT can help deliver your regeneration objectives - Seminar

We would be very happy to come and talk with you about how ICT can help your regeneration programme achieve its objectives. We also offer a very reasonably priced half-day seminar for staff, board members or whoever else you would like to invite, to help increase your people's understanding of how ICT relates to your delivery programmes