Annual report 2010

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Working with the community

mike header 2 Simon Crine, Director of Corporate Affairs, explains how Digital UK works with charities to support viewers in each region.

Julie-and-Maura-resize.jpg Julie and Maura, two friends in their 60s, learn how to retune Freeview equipment at the Digital UK advice point in Fort Augustus, Scotland.

With switchovers stretching from the Scottish Highlands to the Channel Islands, the role of our regional teams became more important than ever. Working directly with viewers and local organisations at the very heart of their communities, including councils and housing providers, MPs, the media and retailers, they help ensure everyone is ready for the day analogue TV signals are switched off.

'Much praise must go to our partners from local charities, who recruited an army of helpers in each region.'

STV North is the largest and arguably most geographically challenging of all the TV regions. Outside of the cities along the East Coast the area is mainly rural with dozens of small inhabited islands. To meet the challenge, Digital UKs Scotland team instigated a programme of community events which stopped at hundreds of locations. These included a series of events held in Gaelic, presentations to a captive audience on the Aberdeen-to-Shetland overnight ferry and photo opportunities with well known locals including Lorraine Kelly, the Up Helly Aa Vikings and the Loch Ness Monster. Getting the message to all corners of the Channel Islands proved equally entertaining. Journeys through sun and storms by fishing boat, ferry, bicycle and moped were undertaken on a regular basis.

Two years of detailed discussions with separate Parliaments in Jersey and Guernsey were also needed to ensure switchover fitted smoothly into the distinctly different customs and way of life on the islands. Once again, much praise must go to our partners from local charities, who recruited an army of helpers in each region to provide additional support for those who need it - from the ladies at a home library service who delivered news of the switchover (and called on their husbands to solve any technical problems people had) to the B&B owners on the Hebridean isle of Canna, who acted as switchover ambassadors. In total this activity saw the training of more than 1,800 volunteers from 660 organisations and the manning of 73 advice points, providing practical help and advice to more than 5,200 people at the point of switchover.

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