digital hero – libby bateman

Libby Bateman of Mallerstang, who was nominated by Rory for the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Award, has won the award for the North West. The award recognised for her role in the Cumbria broadband campaign in which she has used digital technology to help others. Libby wins £5,000 for the East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum (ECCBF) and is now in with a chance of winning the £10,000 grand prize. She received the most votes in the North West region and has joined 11 other regional winners hoping to be crowned TalkTalk’s national Digital Heroes Awards 2011 winner at an event held on 24th November at the House of Lords.


Local charity worker and community organiser Libby Bateman set up the East Cumbrian Broadband Forum in response to the local community’s high levels of rural broadband activism and selection as a rural pilot of the government’s BDUK spending on broadband infrastructure. The Forum represents fifteen local community broadband groups (and counting), all of whom are volunteers that Libby has united to make sure their communities survive in the digital age. As well as taking home a technology grant of £5,000 to enhance her digital project, Libby and the ECCBF are now in with a chance of winning the grand prize of £10,000, which is judged by a panel that includes dotcom entrepreneur and UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, and TalkTalk Chairman Charles Dunstone. Such is the forum’s expertise and impact on the community that the government is now relying on Libby, and her colleagues, to pilot rural broadband solutions that will eventually be rolled out throughout the UK.


Rory said: “Libby and the East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum exemplify the real powers that communities have to drive ahead with programmes that literally inform and shape government policy. The pilots that Libby and the ECCBF are working on are being closely followed by government and industry alike. We look to people like Libby and her colleagues to tell us how to get things done in rural areas. I cannot think of a better way of recognising her dedication and expertise as through this award, and I congratulate her and wish her all the very best of luck for the grand prize.”


Dido Harding, TalkTalk CEO, said: “We would like to congratulate Libby, as well as our other 11 regional winners. The Digital Heroes Awards were designed to recognise and reward those who use digital technology to make a difference in their communities. Over the course of the shortlisting and voting phases we’ve seen some incredibly worthy causes and we are delighted that these projects are getting the recognition they fully deserve.”


The TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards, run in conjunction with Citizens Online, are the only awards of their kind to celebrate inspirational people who are using digital technology to bring about positive social change. The Twitter hashtag for the awards is #digitalheroes.

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