IT and Internet Access for the Young People of Gorebridge

Who are they? Gorebridge Logo
Gorebridge Community Development Trust.

Where are they?
Midlothian, Scotland.

What do they do?
Help the local community regenerate the area.

How big are they?
Turnover of around £50000.

What did they receive?
Cisco router and wireless adaptors; Microsoft Office 2007 and Vista Business 32-Bit upgrades; Norton SystemWorks SE.

The outcome?
PC and Internet facilities in a new Youth Room for the town.

The small ex-mining town of Gorebridge sits on the main tourist route to Edinburgh; it is surrounded by outstanding countryside perfect for country walks and visits.

Nevertheless, like many villages in the region, Gorebridge has struggled to adapt to life after the collapse of the British coal industry. Many residents suffer from a lack of social opportunities, comparative ill-health and low educational attainment; business have closed or moved elsewhere and investment in services and facilities has been hard to come by. The Gorebridge Community Development Trust was formed by community demand in 2004 to attempt to address some of these issues and to help regenerate the area.

As the Trust’s Development Worker, Simeon Ripley is the sole employee of the charity. Microsoft pointed him towards the CTX programme following his approach with an enquiry – a contact that has helped immensely with the completion of a much-needed new facility for the young people of the town.

We’ve set up a Youth Room at our centre,” Simeon explains. “Just a warm place where people can be with friends – there is no other dedicated youth provision in Gorebridge.” Six PC’s have been equipped with software donated via CTX – operating systems and Office from Microsoft, under the protection of Norton SystemWorks. These then access the Internet via new wireless adaptors and a router, donated by Cisco.

“People come in – they might play online games, they might be doing a PowerPoint presentation for school,” says Simeon, of this new safe environment for Gorebridge’s young people. “They have a chance to use the Internet.”

It might be taken for granted that ‘kids today’ spend their lives emailing friends and browsing on MySpace – but for some communities their young people being part of a ‘normal’ online social network is far from the reality. “The levels of internet access at young people’s homes are very low,” comments Simeon.

By helping to address this, the Trust addresses one small part of a big issue facing a town that has been through major economic upheaval – to stop itself being left behind by the modern world. The Youth Room’s now fully up and running – is it successful? “Oh yes,” replies Simeon. “It’s working well”.



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