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Keep Connected grant helps community radio project

10th June, 2020

Fastershire's ‘Keep Connected’ grant has helped Herefordshire based community group, Unite The Beat, to launch a new radio station and continue to support people who benefit from their services. 

Emily Robertson co-founded Unite The Beat with her husband, Malik Tokwe, in the summer of 2017.

The community group uses music and nature to promote connection and curiosity, and help reduce social isolation and loneliness. Lockdown brought about by the coronavirus meant the Herefordshire-based group faced an uphill challenge to continue supporting those who benefit from their service.
This is when the Fastershire ‘Keep Connected’ grant from Herefordshire Council proved such a lifeline. Brought in within a week of lockdown beginning, the Keep Connected grant, up to £500, is for community groups and not-for-profit organisations to help them adapt to delivering services online.
"We were at home thinking, ‘what can we do during this time,’ when the idea of an online radio show came up,’ said Emily. "So we applied for the grant which has allowed us to buy the relevant licences to broadcast a weekly show."
"We can’t thank the Fastershire ‘Keep Connected’ grant enough. It’s enabled us to launch this show which has been absolutely fantastic and really liberating.
It’s probably the smallest grant we’ve applied for, but its effect has been transformational."
The two-hour online slot has quickly built up a loyal following with around 100 people regularly tuning in.
"People call in who have never met before and you’d think they are long-lost friends,’ added Emily. It’s been lovely. Really wonderful. We’ve had people from various cities tune in, and different family members unable to meet up."
One caller’s relative died a year earlier so to mark 12 months since her funeral, she shared the memory on the air with family. And a couple, unable to get married because of the coronavirus restrictions, were serenaded with an hour-long music set also featuring messages from their friends and family.
"My mum, Jane, is a regular listener and I’ve learnt so much about her from the songs she’s requested.  We’re really close and the show has been such a great way to get to know her better.  She’s asked for some awesome tunes with all sorts of fun stories attached.’ Emily adds that requests on the show have ranged from Teddy Bears’ Picnic to the popular pop song Dance Monkey. 
"It’s really brought people together, promoting memory through music. There are a lot of people who are struggling with isolation. Lockdown has made this more of a challenge, even for those not usually affected by it. Hopefully things like this can help."
The radio has also enhanced some of Unite The Beat’s other work including their virtual music-making project with young people accessing Herefordshire-based Hope Support Services, which provides support to those aged 5-25 in the county when a loved one is seriously ill.
To listen to the show, visit Unite The Beat each Thursday between 6pm – 8pm. 

Simultaneous use

With a slow internet connection you can have problems doing more than one thing at a time online. With faster broadband the whole family can be online doing homework, watching iPlayer, keeping in touch with friends on Skype or Facetime and doing the weekly shop all at the same time without any time delay or frozen screen.


Work from home

Working from home can now be as fast and effective as working from the office. This could save you time and money, as well as helping you to achieve a better work life balance. With faster broadband you could even consider setting up your own business from home as you would have the world class connectivity that could give you the edge.


Keep files in the cloud

Store photos, documents, music and videos online in the cloud rather than on the computer at home. Your files will be kept safe and you can access them anywhere. Fast upstream speeds mean backing up files is done in the blink of an eye.


Stream films & TV shows in seconds

With faster broadband you can download the latest blockbuster before the kettle has boiled or watch your favourite TV show online instantly.


Take an online learning course

With faster broadband you can study online with flexible hours and video tutorials that work immediately.


Maintain independence

New telecare services mean that people who are unwell, have a disability or older people can stay safe and independent at home.

Stream films & TV shows in seconds

Did you know that you can now access a whole host of council services and information online, such as reporting a pothole, paying your council tax, finding out when your rubbish or recycling will be collected and checking library opening times?

Visit: Do it online in Herefordshire Visit: Do it online in Gloucestershire

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Internet Training

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Free 'Introduction to the Internet' sessions for communities in Herefordshire

Do you know of a group or club in your community in Herefordshire who would like to find out more about using the internet and the benefits of going online? 

Fastershire can arrange for a tutor to bring laptops and tablets to the group’s usual meeting place, or another venue with internet access, to demonstrate how to send emails, search for information about the local area, or shop or pay bills online, and then support them to ‘have a go’ themselves. 

To find out more please email go-online@fastershire.com. These free sessions could lead to a longer course for those who are interested in developing their skills at going online.




Go-online@fastershire Grant funding to help community organisations, groups and clubs in Herefordshire

Local community organisations, groups, clubs and other not-for-profit organisations in Herefordshire can apply for up to £2,500 funding to arrange internet support and training so that local people can make the most of the benefits of going online.

Click here for further information and an application form or email go-online@fastershire.com




Online Training Resources

Learn My Way (www.learnmyway.com) is a website of free online courses for beginners, helping you to develop digital skills to make the most of the online world.  It's also got courses and resources to help you inspire people in your community to use the internet and help them improve their digital skills - including a 'How to be a Digital Champion' course.  

We also have a whole host of training guides here that you can download for your own learning or to use when training someone else.

Computer Training in Herefordshire

There are many organisations across Herefordshire who regularly offer computer courses and support for beginners. Information about just some of the training offered is available here.  Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, please contact the organiser for up-to-date information on whether they are open and offering training.

For details of the free monthly workshops at Libraries in Herefordshire visit our events page.  These aren't running currently due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Please complete the form and we will contact you as soon as this changes. 

Details of beginners' computer courses offered by Adult Education in Gloucestershire are here.  Please contact them for up-to-date information on whether they are currently able to offer training. 

If you would like to be notified about beginners’ computer courses offered by organisations in Herefordshire please complete this form.  

Where to buy

Here's a list of home broadband providers who offer packages for homes connected by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), with links to their web sites, so you can find out if they're up and running where you live.

Click here to view FTTP providers >

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) Providers

Fibre to the premises (FTTP) Providers

Fibre to the premises (FTTP) is one of the world's most cutting edge types of fibre broadband with blistering speeds of up to 330Mbps and 1000Mbps.

If you get enabled with FTTP, you can order it through one of the following Service Providers.

We'll update this page as more ISPs start to offer FTTP.

Where to buy

Here's a list of home broadband providers who offer packages for homes connected to Gigaclear's ultrafast broadband network, with links to their web sites, so you can find out if they're up and running where you live.

Gigaclear Providers

How to use a smartphone (Hereford Library)

15 Oct 2018
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Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 15th October 2018

Time: 11:00-13:00

How to use a smartphone

Smartphones allow you a simpler way to access the internet by using different application or 'apps'. 
This session will help teach you the basics of how to use a smartphone, from; 
  • Learning how to send email 
  • Search for information 
  • Stay safe on the internet 
  • Learning about apps
  • And how to connect to our library WiFi.
Bring your own device or we will have smartphones available for the session. 
Places are free but booking is essential, please contact, Hereford Library or phone 01432 383 600

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Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AU

FREE Beginners' Training

Get the most out of the internet with FREE training from Fastershire in Ross-on-Wye and Cinderford.

Booking is essential, please call 01432 260026.

No experience is necessary and equipment will be provided if required.  


The Larruperz Centre, Grammar School Close, HR9 7QD

How to use your tablet
Wednesday 6 June, 2pm-4pm

How to use the internet
Monday 11 June,10am-12pm

Introduction to email
Friday 22 June, 5pm-7pm


Belle Vue Centre, 6 Belle Vue Road, GL14 2AB

How to use the internet
Tuesday 5 June, 10am-12pm

Introduction to email
Wednesday 13 June, 2pm-4pm

How to use your tablet 
Monday 18 June, 5pm-7pm  

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