The Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre in Dublin is a central hub of activity in its local area. The centre is open to everyone – providing schemes, education, activities and facilities for umpteen local organisations, associations and youth clubs.
With four PCs and no internet access they were desperately in need of ICT facilities. BT Connected Communities worked with the centre to provide machines, support and resources.
The Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre works hard to make sure everyone feels part of the local community. People of all cultures, ethnic groups and religions are welcome. The centre hosts all sorts of goings-on from youth clubs, TD clinics, creches, prayer groups to dance classes, discos and meetings.
The centre works with local schools and even has a board, tasked with reaching out to marginalised groups and listening to what they need. In total, Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre is used by over 35,000 people every year.
Under Connected Communities, BT volunteers worked with the centre staff to provide equipment, free internet access and training.
At a time when many are struggling, the free internet access and training that BT is providing is proving to be a crucial asset to the centre and to the Ringsend and Irishtown area in general.
“ Not only has BT equipped the centre with state of the art laptops and other IT equipment they have also supported us by training our staff in IT skills which will be passed on to community centre users. BT Volunteers have also helped us decorate the centre- at one point up to twelve BT Volunteers were helping to paint the centre, while two BT volunteers are working continuously with us.”
The centre is now used by thirty five thousand people in the area per annum.
Ms Barry continued “The centre is used not only by locals but also by people further afield looking for support or training. The Preparing for Work in Ireland course aimed at foreign nationals has had a particularly strong uptake. This wouldn’t have taken place without the IT resources BT has provided. We are also currently running senior IT classes which are very popular amongst older people in the area. Shortly we will be rolling out additional courses and all are welcome.”
Last year BT invested over €1 million in financial support and support-in-kind across Ireland through its corporate responsibility programme, which aims to encourage more people to get online and become part of the digital society.
BT employs more than 900 people in the Republic of Ireland and has offices in Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford.
Lorraine Barry, Centre Manager
“The centre is not only used by locals but also by people further afield looking for support and training.”
“We felt that there was a gap in terms of IT training and resources in the community centre. As soon as we became aware of the BT Connected Communities initiative we were keen to get involved. Since then we have working with BT to upgrade out IT facilities and get more people in the community online."