Broadband provider donates free WiFi to YMCA centre

As part of Wifinity’s pro-bono ‘good connections’ initiative, a YMCA centre in London has been set up with free Wifi for residents and visitors.

Joe Lepper | 30th Dec 19
cartoon spaceman holding wifi, representing Wifinity broadband

A YMCA centre has been kitted out with free WiFi as part of a broadband provider’s annual pro-bono initiative to tackle digital exclusion among sheltered housing residents.

Each year provider Wifinity supports a charity with free WiFi as part of its ‘good connections’ broadband charity scheme, which donates staff time and equipment in lieu of a Christmas party.

This year they have provided the free service to YMCA South Ealing so that residents and visitors can have access to free WiFi as soon as they walk into the building.

The support from Wifinity each year includes installing, testing and launching the wireless network within sheltered accommodation.

In previous years the company has connected four homeless shelters in Kingston and last year the recipient was YMCA’s Surbiton centre.

The work at YMCA’s South Ealing centre involved Wifinity donating £90,000 worth of staff time, equipment, maintenance and customer support. Around 50 staff members were involved in the initiative that saw the YMCA centre connected to free Wi-Fi within a day via the Wifinity broadband offer.

The company’s challenge is to install the service within 12 hours, starting at 7am in the morning.

The YMCA installation covers 151 bedrooms and communal areas and included hardware donated by Wifinity partner Cambium Networks. Previously there was no WiFi in YMCA South Ealing’s communal areas and bedrooms.

Tackling social exclusion

“Having no access to the internet can lead to unintentional social exclusion – many residents have smartphones and tablets, but cannot afford monthly contracts, so become digitally excluded; unable to access potential job opportunities, state benefits and their loved ones at a time when they need them most,” said YMCA South Ealing Housing Manager Kerry Oldfield-Spence.

“The benefits of Wifinity’s gift cannot be understated and will make a huge difference to the quality of our resident’s lives. Already we have a resident excited about signing up to an online education course and others talking about the value of being able to contact a wider support network.”

Wifinity Chief Executive Officer Mark Parry added: “It’s easy to get lost in the festive season and forget the true meaning of Christmas, which is thinking of others and giving something back. Our staff’s enthusiasm and passion for our good connections scheme is incredibly heartening.

“It builds team spirit and gives employees the chance to contribute in a very tangible and personal way.

“There are also business benefits – it enables staff to see first-hand how our product can change lives and for employees in departments like finance and sales to get hands-on with the tech, should they be picked for helping in the installation team.”