It was a day of excitement for ‘Superfast Spaldwick’ yesterday (8th August 2014), when we received a visit from Ed Vaizey, the Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy. Ed was here to talk to villagers about the effects of superfast broadband on their lives and businesses.
Ed was accompanied by senior people from BT and BDUK (the government department responsible for rolling out superfast broadband). Everyone met at 8am at Number 12 to meet Darrell Haylett. Darrell and his wife Maud have been successfully driving business through their websites, online media and online shopping.
Our guests included: Bill Murphy (Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT), Kim Mears (Next Generation Access Director of Openreach), Chris Townsend (Chief Executive of BDUK), Walter Leschenkno (Local Project Director of BDUK), Ken Hunt (Department of Cuture, Media and Sport), Matty Stewart (BT Communications), Noelle Godfrey (Connecting Cambridgeshire Programme Director) and Councillor Ian Bates (Chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee for Cambridgeshire County Council).
Ed informally chatted to villagers in the street about their experiences with high-speed broadband before visiting two houses where villagers (who have already subscribed to superfast broadband) had gathered to meet our guests. By the end of the visit, our guests were absolutely buzzing about the fact that they had the opportunity to talk to real people and find out the real impact of superfast broadband on them and the village as a whole.
We have received messages to say that our guests found their time in Spaldwick really informative and enjoyable. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that “the time in Spaldwick was brilliant and exactly what the Minister had hoped to see and hear.”
Noelle Godfrey, Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Programme Director said, “A number of the attendees have been in touch already to say how much they enjoyed the visit and particularly hearing such compelling stories from the residents in Spaldwick about the impact of broadband in a small rural community. We are extremely grateful to you and to everyone else in Spaldwick today who invited us into your homes and gave us such a warm welcome. Please pass on thanks and best wishes to all of the people we met today from the Connecting Cambridgeshire Team.”
I would just like to thank everyone in the village for supporting not just the visit, but also the village’s superfast broadband campaign over several years. Our achievements would not have been possible without your support with the Connecting Cambridgeshire demand registration scheme two years ago. I would like to thank everyone who posed for the recent photo (and video) on the village green and provided such compelling case studies. I know that some people took time off work to support Ed Vaizey’s visit. Thank you to everyone who took part yesterday. As I listened to you all telling Ed about your experiences, I felt extremely proud. I am sorry that Ed couldn’t get to see everyone. Thank you!
Anglia TV report
Darrell had an extremely busy day yesterday, running the shop, preparing for outside events, meeting our guests and doing TV interviews with both the BBC and ITV.
Thank you to Darrell Haylett, Krista Alves and Lisa Hunter for doing Spaldwick proud! Sadly, some film crews were caught up in all the flooding yesterday on the A14 and couldn’t get to Spaldwick. At least, the bad weather held off first thing in the morning!
After Spaldwick, Ed Vaizey travelled to Willingham for a celebration with local councillors and Connecting Cambridgeshire programme partners. There, Ed gave a brief speech (below), and you can see that Spaldwick had made quite an impression!
Below is the article from the Hunts Post, dated 13th August. Please click to view the article in full resolution.
Huntingdon and St Ives News and Crier (Cambridge News)
Below is the article from the Huntingdon and St Ives News & Crier, dated 14th August. Please click to view the article in full resolution.