The Venture Integrated Children’s Centre in Wrexham has received a free broadband boost from Virgin Media in recognition of its work to support the local community with digital skills and training. 

Two years after the provider first connected up The Venture, the telecoms company has renewed its commitment to providing free ultrafast broadband services to the charity, further supporting its work in the local community.

The free connectivity has already made a huge difference to the area. As a small charity, The Venture relies on fundings and donations from a range of bodies and organisations, and the free connectivity has allowed it to direct more funds to its community programmes and education sessions that support local children.

The Venture has used the free ultra-fast broadband to support education courses and youth work programmes, giving young people better access to learning materials and helping them develop crucial digital skills.

Last week, Member of the Senedd for Wrexham and Patron of The Venture, Lesley Griffiths, visited The Venture to see how the service is having a lasting and positive impact on the community. On the day, she was greeted by members of the community and The Venture team at an event for the children the hub supports.

During the visit, Ms Griffiths was also joined by Donna Morley, NetEx Program Director at Virgin Media O2, who spoke about how the company has invested to bring ultrafast broadband services to tens of thousands of homes in Wrexham, with further improvements and rollout planned in future.

As part of Virgin Media’s Project Lightning network expansion programme, more than 21,500 premises in Wrexham now have access to the UK’s fastest widely available broadband network – with further expansion planned for 2024. Virgin Media has invested around £13 million to connect homes and businesses in Wrexham and has also been expanding and upgrading its network throughout Wales.

Lesley Griffiths, Member of the Senedd for Wrexham, said: “As a proud patron of The Venture, I’m delighted the Centre will continue to benefit from Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband service.

“Access to fast, reliable broadband is essential in this day and age. The Venture has helped countless children over the past four decades and I know improving connectivity will have a major, positive impact not just on the children who will use the services in the coming years, but also to the families and the wider community.”

Donna Morley, NetEx Program Director at Virgin Media O2, said: “As we continue to expand our network in Wrexham, we are not only celebrating our continued investment in the town but our ongoing commitment to the local community.

“Whether it’s through extending our network to thousands more homes and businesses, connecting The Venture to free ultrafast broadband or helping provide technology to those who really need it, we’re using our next generation services for good at a time when they have never been more important.”

Last year, the operator launched its first sustainability strategy as a joint business, the Better Connections Plan, outlining its bold commitments to cut carbon, champion circularity, and connect communities as it upgrades the UK. The business aims to help eradicate data poverty by connecting 1 million digitally excluded people and equip 6 million people with the skills, confidence and tools to feel more connected to our digital society by the end of 2025.

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Hundreds of children and young people pass through The Venture’s gates each week to play, learn, and be in a safe space. The Venture Alternative Learning (VAL) Project, in particular, has benefitted from better connectivity to the internet. Using a playwork and youth work approach, and the Prince’s Trust Achieve programme, the VAL Project allows young people to direct their own learning and ensures that no young person leaves school without a plan for employment, further education, or training.

“Last year my laptop died and needed to finish my coursework. I went to The Venture because if they couldn’t help, they probably would know someone who could. They lent me a Chromebook, gave me some data, and said I could use their internet when I was down. All from Virgin. I’ve just started a degree. Without that help, I might not have finished my course and maybe not made it to uni at all”. – Jan, young person who attended The Venture

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