Local Community News


raynetsseThe Isle of Wight is to get a new emergency communications network thanks to the local electricity distributor, Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD).

The Island’s amateur radio enthusiasts will use a £2,000 donation from SEPD to allow their radio network to provide internet and phone services during emergencies and major incidents.

The cash injection is being made as part of SEPD’s Resilient Communities Fund, designed to help local groups and not-for-profit organisations improve the ability of their towns and villages to withstand extreme weather events.

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The amateur radio operators belong to Raynet, a national voluntary communication service, and the new network will mean that the group’s members and other subscribers will be able to send and receive data over their radios.  This could make a massive difference to the Island during storms and other emergencies that might adversely affect power supplies and phone signals.

Mark Breslin from the Island’s Raynet Group said:

“This funding enhances Raynet’s capabilities. If the communications network were to be disrupted during an emergency, our network will be able to provide a greater level of support to the Island’s emergency services and the council, contributing towards the safety of residents and the protection of the environment.”

Mark added that the new equipment will complement the work being undertaken by Raynet in partnership with other voluntary sector organisations on the Island through the Island Resilience Forum. The next steps will be to carry out training for its members.

Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution for SEPD has been impressed with the wide range of projects and community groups that have applied for funding:

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“The Isle of Wight Raynet Group is a perfect example of a local group working together to help their community. With my background as an engineer, I’m always interested in seeing new technologies being put to good use, and that’s why I am delighted with this donation to help the Raynet team set up the island’s new emergency communications network.”

The Resilient Communities Fund is open to non-profit making, community organisations throughout SEPD’s operating region of central southern England.  For more details on the fund, please visit  https://www.ssepd.co.uk/Resiliencefund/.

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