HECNet was a proposal made to the Handsworth Community Forum (HCF) in 1997 for an electronic network to serve the community. Here's what we said about its possible functionality at the time.
"The proposed network is intended to achieve the following.
- (1) To act as an information source about Handsworth, its community, its institutions, its societies, its shops, its businesses, and so on, which would be available to the people of Handsworth, to people outside Handsworth who have an interest in the village (for example ex-residents), and indeed to the rest of the world. This would for example be of benefit to the community in enabling them to keep better-informed about the place where they live, and also provide a means of "advertising" the facilities of Handsworth to the outside world.
- (2) To provide a means, using electronic mail on the Internet, for the people and institutions of Handsworth to carry out discussions about matters of interest and concern to the community.
- (3) To improve the community's general awareness of, skills in, and access to, information technology and electronic networking."
So what of this, by 2005, has been achieved?
Well, as regards (1), given the feedback we have received from the Guest Book and Ex-pats, this seems to have been quite sucessful, although a lot more could have been done with greater resources.
As regards (2), we had intended to engender discussions via electronic mailing lists. We have done little of this so far, but, now that Internet access is much more freely available, we intend to try to promote such activity.
As regards (3), we have made some modest progress. Firstly, we ran a project in 1999, funded by the European Social Fund, which gave training in IT and interviewing skills to 12 unemployed people, some of whom consequently found employment. Handsworth Grange Comprehensive School generously provided IT facilities etc which were essential to the project. We have also worked with the Handsworth Community Nursery to provide IT training for some nursery parents.
So, HECNet has not been just a Web site, and we will try to extend its scope. But, as far as the Web site itself is concerned, now that, eight years on, there is much more Internet access and Internet-based information in place, we see it as becoming more of a portal which leads to an ever-increasing number of Web sites about Handsworth. This is always how we envisaged the future, and how we hoped things would develop.
The HECNet Team
Last modified 05-05-2005 10:38