An award-winning charity is working with a North West broadband provider to offer free internet to vulnerable families.

IMO, which is set to move into new larger premises on Pringle Street in Blackburn, will refer families who could benefit from high-speed internet to Opus Broadband.

The charity, established in 2006, runs a number of health and wellbeing, education and development programmes in Blackburn and Darwen. IMO will soon move into a new centre on Pringle Street which has undergone major renovations.

The partnership is part of Opus Broadband’s ‘Internet For Everyone’ campaign which sees the company donate free broadband connections to homes and organisations that provide vital services to their community.

IMO, which has been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Services, said they were delighted to be part of the referral scheme which has already helped hundreds of families and homes in the region.

Lancashire Telegraph:

 Samir Khan, from IMO, said: “We are so happy to have the referral scheme.

“People use the internet for all sorts of things from entertainment and homework. 
Sometimes they are having to use their data which can be a big financial burden.

“The families that we have been referring have five or six children that need the internet because they are using it for school as well as playing games.

“One mother couldn’t afford it afford to have internet and was using her own mobile data which was difficult especially when the mobile signal was poor. When you have fixed Wi -Fi in the home, it helps open up new opportunities.”

So far, the charity said it had spoken to a number of families.

Sameer continued: “We’ve already had six referrals even though it’s a relatively new partnership, and we are excited to see where this can lead.

"As Opus expands into more areas, we can offer this service to more people.”

She said the feedback from families had been positive.

“People have said it is a good service and that it’s better than social tariffs offered by other providers because even those prices can be too expensive for some people especially in this cost-of-living crisis.

"This partnership helps bridge that gap and get people online where previously they would not have been able to.”

A spokesperson for Opus Broadband said: “People wanting to search for new careers or those wanting to access vital services rely on the internet.

“Bridging the divide is a matter of technological access and a crucial step towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society, ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital age.

“As a community, we are only digitally included when we have the ability and the opportunity to make use of online technologies according to our needs.

“That means supporting the most vulnerable families in this area and supporting organisations that provide support – often lifesaving – to those very same families and communities.”