THE CONSENSUS of the meeting was that the "picture" of Hangleton and Knoll now was as shown on the left. The environment and the community were reckoned to be stable and to have improved in recent years through various physical and social initiatives. The economy was generally agreed to be fragile with high levels of unemployment and little prospect of work. The model on the right shows the consensus on how the IT measures shown below might affect the area.

HAVING completed the model of the area at present, the meeting now looked at a selection of possible IT projects that might improve things. The following projects were presented on cards:

  • Community News Online
  • Community Resource Centre
  • Online Learning
  • Local History Online
  • Information Gateway
  • Local E-Commerce
  • Community Conferencing
  • E-Democracy
  • Activists Online
  • Local Arts Project
  • E-Mail for All
  • Community Participation

Each group selected projects within a given budget. This resulted in a lively discussion on the relative merits of each project and how they might link together.

The projects selected by the groups were as follows (figures in brackets show the number of groups selecting this project):

  • Community Participation (3)
  • Community Resource Centre (3)
  • Community News Online (2)
  • Online Learning (2)
  • Local Arts Project (2)
  • Local History Online (1)
  • Information Gateway (1)
  • E-Commerce (1)

The general points made in discussion after were:

Young people are much more familiar with the technology and how to use it and could teach older people.

Libraries or schools may not have the right 'style' to be the best venues for community IT. Community centres might be better.

A concerted effort should be made to involve those already online through similar workshops. This group could then be used to create momentum amongst those not online.

Most households will be online within the next few years and the technology will change to suit this mass market. How can we ensure that the community is strengthened and not weakened by this process?

At the end of the session a group who already had online access agreed to exchange e-mail addresses and to develop further ideas for the community use of IT through setting up a local online discussion group and through involving other online members of the community.

It was also agreed to hold a community demonstration day so that local people could gain hands on experience of the technology. This was to be set for some time in June.

Finally there was an (optimistic!) discussion of how all this might be funded from local and central government sources .

One group reports back on how they see their neighbourhood.

Neighbourhoods Online newsletter 2