A broadband provider has linked up with an asylum and refugee centre to offer free internet to families. 
Opus Broadband has partnered with community groups across the region and is donating 20% of their network for free to a range of causes. 
One of those is the Darwen Asylum Refugee Enterprise (DARE) which provides a drop-in service for the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
They meet at the Central United Reformed Church.
The plan is to install more than 40 free internet connections to homes in the upcoming months. 

John East, chair of Darwen Asylum Refugee Enterprise, said: “We discovered that during lockdown many asylum seekers and refugees and other people, for that matter were stuck in their homes. 

“They couldn't go home because of the amount of money they had. They had very low income.

"They had no way of connecting with college, either remotely or school or their family or friends or lawyers or things like that. So, we started to think about how we were going to do this.”

The charity got in touch with 6Gi Internet (now Opus Broadband) after learning they were connecting the most vulnerable households in the Northwest.

John said: “It's been a bit of a struggle because as I speak there are three installations taking place.

"It's not easy when you've got people who don't quite understand about installations of Wi-Fi in the houses but we’ve been working well together.

John added: “Connectivity's so important to people's isolation, especially when they're coming out Covid being able to have a facility that means they can communicate with other people. It is going to be pretty impressive. 

“Making sure that they can get the confidence and not being isolation. The whole thing is about eradicating isolation so people will have a facility that will be able to connect up.”

Already 12 homes have been connected and more are planned in the coming weeks.

 Ian Clough said: “It has been wonderful working with the centre and supporting the valuable work they do.

"Connectivity can help people, especially families with young children during what can be a difficult period adjusting to new surroundings.
“A big thank you also to our dedicated installation teams who have been working in homes across the local community.”