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Fibrus Broadband allocates £60,000 to community groups across Northern Ireland

2 weeks ago 1 min read

Over 30 Northern Irish community groups are receiving grants this year to help individuals across the region access the internet and digital technology.

Over 30 Northern Irish community groups are receiving grants this year to help individuals across the region access the internet and digital technology, thanks to funding provided by local broadband provider, Fibrus. 

The Fibrus Community Fund, which was launched in 2021, has to date provided £175,000 worth of funding across Northern Ireland to support digital inclusion projects, with an additional £120,000 committed in Cumbria.  

Delivered in partnership with The Community Foundation Northern Ireland, the Fibrus Community Fund was established to address digital poverty in Northern Ireland and in total the Fund has now provided grants to over 100 community groups across the region.  

A range of organisations have been supported from the 2024 Fund including The Tuesday Club in Cookstown, Tempo Community Playgroup in Enniskillen and Friends of St Mary’s Primary School in Craigavon.  

One of the groups significantly benefiting from the latest round of funding is The Happiness Café, based in Kilkeel, who support those living with Dementia and their careers through a weekly ‘memories café’.  

The group will use the funding to purchase tablets for their members to support in their care through cognitive stimulation, communication support, safety and monitoring and reminiscence therapy.  Access to this technology can significantly improve their quality of life and the organisation will also provide training to members and their carers on how to use the devices.   

Linda McMillan, Chief People Officer at Fibrus, said “One of our primary goals is to enhance people’s lives by improving digital literacy and connectivity, and this is what the Fund seeks to achieve.  

“We believe every person deserves access to essential services in Northern Ireland and beyond and The Fibrus Community Fund is a vital part of our mission to foster a more digitally inclusive society. 

“This year, we received some fantastic applications from organisations working hard to support those in need in their community and we are honoured to play a part in their journey.  

“We eagerly anticipate seeing these groups grow and develop in the coming months.” 

Marie O’Brien, Founder and CEO at Happiness Café, spoke on receiving the grant saying   

“The Fibrus Community Fund is fantastic and will allow us to do what we are all about – making real and meaningful connections for and between people.  For many of those that use the Happiness Cafés the impact of rural isolation and lack of access to digital devices is a huge concern.   

“In particular, for those living with dementia or indeed their carers who call into the café, these devices can make a huge difference to them, allowing access for activities, music, reminiscence therapy, applications designed to help with dementia and additional safety tools.”  

Orla Black, Grants Director at the Community Foundation NI, said the partnership with Fibrus has been instrumental in driving change in Northern Ireland.  

“The Fibrus Community Fund has reached so many people, bringing greater connections across so many groups at the heart of our communities.  

“For every grant provided, every laptop, computer or broadband connection the sheer amount of people who gain access to these devices is ground-breaking.  

“We have seen digital classes for older people, access for Men’s Sheds, devices for school groups for early learning, or specialised projects such as those aimed at tackling dementia, loneliness or working with refugees or asylum seekers. 

“We look forward to building on this success in partnership with Fibrus.” 

Fibrus recently announced that it would support grassroots sports clubs in Northern Ireland and Cumbria for a second year through Fibrus Play it Forward, a £50,000 funding pot, underlining the broadband provider’s commitment to the local community.  

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