The Powys Telecentre Project

As the result of a successful application to the Welsh Office for assistance under the Strategic Development Scheme 1993-94, Powys County Council were able to offer support to the twelve Telecentres in Powys through appointing a full time Officer.

There were twelve Telecentres in Powys, which was around 10% of all those in the UK, indeed there were and still are more Telecentres per head of population than any other county in the UK. This is mainly down to the geography of Powys - being the largest county in Wales (about 1/4 the area of Wales) with a population of around 120,000 means that the population and hence towns and villages are very dispersed.

The twelve Telecentres have all been set up in a variety of ways and have different legal structures, however they all share the same overall objective of providing general access to modern computer and telecommunication technologies. They are set up as follows:

The objective of the project was to ensure strategic support and development of the Telecentres in Powys. The first few months of the project were spent studying the centres, their existing equipment, services and users and most importantly establishing a network of the Telecentres that would enable a forum for exchanging ideas, skills, experience and work as well as acting as a support mechanism.

The Powys Network of Telecentres meet at telecentres throughout Powys every other month and meet electronically on a daily basis through the Powys Telecentre Conference on a local Bulletin Board System. This enables queries to be quickly answered, an exchange of ideas and more laterly even work to be exchanged between the centres according to skills and equipment.

In May 1995, after monitoring the functionality and usage of all the Telecentres, the support officer summarised the findings that provides a good indication of what happens at the telecentres, but it also demonstrates the difficulties that rural Telecentres face in trying to best achieve their objectives.

The report Powys Telecentres : An Analysis Of Their Nature And Functionality helped form the basis of the development strategy which was used to formulate a European bid under the European Regional Development Fund, the Powys Telecentre Development Project.

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