Community grant connects Portaferry residents online

People pose in front of a school building
Representatives from Portaferry Community Collective, St Columba's College pupils, and the Housing Executive’s Good Relations Officer for Ards and North Down, Gus Moore are pictured at St Columba’s College in Portaferry with equipment that was purchased from the community grant.

Portaferry Community Collective Ltd used funding from the Housing Executive’s Community Grant Scheme to help digitally connect local residents.

Allocated funding of £5,837 was used by the forum to purchase three laptops, 50 Wifi Mini Hubs and 50 preloaded sim cards.

Working to build stronger communities in the local area, Portaferry Community Collective Ltd works in partnership with other groups in the village.

Together they run educational and environmental workshops as well as hosting art activities and other community-based events.

Local groups and schools in Portaferry will also benefit from increased interaction as a result of the Housing Executive grant funding.

Provision of IT equipment, Wifi Mini Devices and preloaded sim cards, will also help digitally connect individuals and residents of Housing Executive estates to get support and services that are available to them online.

Portaferry Community Collective Ltd chairperson, Margaret McGreevy said the forum was delighted to have been awarded the recent funding.

She said: “Our intention is to work with our member groups and the three local schools to identify those people within our community with limited or without access to internet.

“Using this equipment and other IT equipment we already have we will be able provide them with the necessary resources to enable them to connect with schools, friends, family and the wider community.”

“This will help reduce social isolation and create community cohesion, all of which have suffered greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. 

“Thank you very much to the Housing Executive for all the support they’ve given to us in Portaferry in the last year.” 

Allison Murphy, from Portaferry & Strangford Trust, which is a member group of Portaferry Community Collective Ltd is also delighted with the funding.

She said: “We are thrilled to have been a recipient of a Wifi Mini Hub and Sim Card from this project. We run a Maritime Heritage Centre in the village, which didn’t have Wifi because of the costs involved.

“This now means that as volunteers running the facility we can access information online during opening hours to research information and enhance the experience of local people and visitors to the centre.”

Owen Brady, the Housing Executive’s Ards and North Down Manager, welcomed the recent funding allocation.

He said: “Funding from our Community Grant Scheme can be used to support a range of initiatives that promote health and well-being, bring people together and improve shared spaces in estates across the Ards and North Down area.

“This is a fantastic example of a local community using our funding to help connect residents online and allow them to get in touch with a number of services that are available to them.”

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