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#GetConnected wins national award

LIVERPOOL City Council last night scooped a top award for 1 of its Post Pandemic pledges. The Council's #GetConnected project, which offers 4G connections to eligible families, was voted:- "Best Digital Inclusion Initiative" at the annual Socitm Presidents Awards. This award is given for a digital inclusion programme which has had the most positive outcomes within a place.

At the beginning of this year, all families eligible for income-related free School meals were contacted with the offer to receive a funded broadband connection for 12 months. The project was to not only support children with learning but was also to help older family members access employment opportunities and training.

The Council partnered with O2 to supply MiFi connections which means that families could just plug in and get online quickly without the need for a visit from an engineer. Equipment is pre-installed with safety filters.

Since January, over 1,300 connections have been set up, with successful applications coming from all of the City's 30 wards. Most connections have been set up in homes in:- Princes Park, Speke Garston, and Norris Green wards.

The scheme is now closed for this academic year but will re-open in September and it is also hoped to expand the eligibility of the scheme to other groups of young people.

Council partners were also given the chance to support Get Connected with 8x8, Arlingclose, Capita, LiquidLogic, and Onward Homes all getting involved with about £90,000 of social value secured. Opportunities to support #GetConnected are still available. A connection for one family for 12 months costs no more than £250.

#GetConnected is just one part of the Council's commitment to bridging the digital divide in Liverpool. This includes the City's £7.2m Liverpool 5G Create: Connecting Health and Social Care project, a consortium of social care and health providers, Universities, third-sector providers and technology experts, which is seeking to reduce digital poverty, improve health and support people to live independent lives.

Socitm is the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation and is the membership organisation for developing and delivering public services.

Cllr Jane Corbett, Deputy Mayor and lead for the '#GetConnected pledge, said:- "This win for the #GetConnected project is a real tribute to the group that drove this work forward and made sure that families could get online as easily as possible. We knew before the Pandemic how important digital connectivity is in many areas of our lives, and the last two years have underlined that. And as the cost of living crisis starts to bite making sure that no-one is left behind with technology is more important than ever. As chair of the Council's Poverty Action Group, digital access is classed as one of the eight basic needs, along with food, fuel, clothing, home, financial security, access to justice, and access to essential transport. It is critical to the health and wellbeing of residents and our continuing work with the 5G Consortium also supports this. Our aim is to make this commitment to families sustainable so thanks also go to our partners who understood that value of this work and committed to the project. If you run a business and would still like to get involved; please contact us!"

Liverpool student's avian species research reaches UK Science and Engineering Final

A student from Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, Liverpool is set to compete at the finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition, with her unique research that compared the structure of birds' feathers to determine why some birds can't fly.

Year 9 pupil Connie Gray's project caught the eye of Competition judges thanks to her research comparing the structure of the features of birds from different climates and environments to each other. Her work aims to help with conservation efforts in areas of the world affected by climate change.

Connie, commented in the project entry:- "I was 1st interested in this topic when my dad bought me a copy of Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species', where he observed finches of the Galapagos Islands. I then wanted to determine why creatures of the same species have such similarities and surely the deciding factor which labels them as birds was the thing I needed to study; feathers."

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive for EngineeringUK, said:- "Connie really impressed the judges with their project that took a creative approach, drawing on their science, engineering and tech skills, to come up with a solution to real problems. It is a huge achievement to progress to this stage of The Competition and they should be incredibly proud to take up their place and compete this year. We received hundreds of incredible entries and the quality of the work undertaken impresses us each year. Young people have shown incredible resilience and determination during the past couple of years and the ambition, passion and enthusiasm the students show for their projects is truly inspiring."

The winners in the science and engineering categories will receive a £750 prize, with 3 runners up receiving £250 for their chosen project. The award ceremony will also crown overall winners as UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Engineer of the Year, who will receive a £2,000 prize.

Connie is 1 of 5 finalists shortlisted for the prestigious title of UK Young Scientist of the Year and will discover at an Award Ceremony taking place on 22 June at the Big Bang Fair whether their invention has won them the accolade.

The Big Bang Fairis aimed at 11 to 14 year olds and the 3 day event (Wednesday, 22 June to Friday, 24 June 2022) is the largest celebration of STEM in the UK. The free to attend event will feature scores of quality hands on activities to inspire young people to discover and explore what a career in STEM can offer. Families, home educators and School groups have the chance to visit at The Big Bang Fair Unlocked, taking place on:- Thursday, 23 June 2022, from 4pm to 8pm.

For more information about The Big Bang Competition and The Big Bang Fair visit here:- TheBigBang.Org.UK.


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