Cambridge Online – The Early Years

Pre 1996

 Cambridge Online City is an initiative established by Anne Campbell MP, in order to increase access to public information through the use of the internet. It was clear even in 1995 that, as the internet took off, those without the appropriate skills or access would be left behind.

Cambridge Online City’s early activities were undertaken by dedicated members of the Executive and sponsoring organizations during lunch breaks and moments jealously snatched from heavily overcommitted schedules.

1996-1997

  • January 1996 – Anne Campbell MP officially launches the COLC terminal at Cambridge Central Library in Lion Yard, along with five other public online access points available elsewhere in Cambridge (the first having been at City Homes South, on Cherry Hinton Road)
  • January 1997 – COLC announces that its seven public access points would soon be expanded by five more in community and advice centres, and seeks additional resources
  • September 1997 – £136,000 National Lottery Charities Board award to COLC announced
  • November 1997 – Advertisement of COLC’s Development Officer post
  • December 1997 – Interviews and appointment of Sally Keyworth and Valerie Neal as job-sharing Development Officers, to begin work in February 1998

1998

  • 6 February 1998 – ‘Access For All’ disability & IT event at Meadows Community Centre
  • March 1998 – Creation of survey for evaluation of existing COLC community access points
  • 2 April 1998 – Support for 1st public launch of YouthNet at Meadows Community Centre
  • May 1998 – Support for Cambridge City Council’s Phoenix Fortnight, for senior citizens
  • 4 June 1998 – Launch of COLC’s first one-to-one free internet tutorials at Arbury Court Library
  • July 1998 – Recommendations received by COLC Executive for enhancement of equipment at all COLC access points
  • July 1998 – Signing of COLC’s Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • July 1998 – Launch of free internet tutorials at the Meadows Community Centre
  • August 1998 – Creation of the first version of COLC’s promotional trifold leaflet
  • September 1998 – Sarah Hooper appointed Project Worker for Pathways Project
  • 18-20 September 1998 – Participation at UK Communities Online Annual Meeting in York
  • October 1998 – Alternative Technology Network launched; for professionals in the field of disability and IT, the ATN meets twice a year
  • Successful funding application submitted for In-Touch Multilingual Project
  • First meetings with KAN Design & Publishing regarding COLC website
  • Launch of free internet tutorials at Romsey Mill
  • Development of enhanced display materials and signs for upgraded COLC access points

1999

  • January 1999 – Comprehensive upgrades of computer equipment and internet facilities at COLC access points at Buchan Street Community Centre, the CABs at both Newmarket Road and at Addenbrookes, at the Meadows Community Centre and at Romsey
  • February 1999 – Establishment of new COLC access points with modern facilities at Rock Road, Milton Road, Newmarket Road and Cherry Hinton Community Libraries
  • February 1999 – Launch of internet tutorials at Newmarket Road CAB, and at Rock Road, Milton Road and Cherry Hinton Community Libraries
  • February 1999 – Launch of Pathways Project with three Open Days
  • 23 March 1999 – Meeting with Cabinet Minister Jack Cunningham regarding COLC activities and services
  • 22 April 1999 – Official launch by Anne Campbell of Pathways project
  • 27 April 1999 – Organization and hosting of interagency seminar entitled ‘The Internet & Social Inclusion’ at St Paul’s Centre, including keynote speech by Brian Davey, of Ecoworks (Nottingham)
  • May 1999 – Revision of formal criteria to be applied in managing existing COLC community access points and in establishing prospective new access points
  • June 1999 – Establishment of teams of volunteers helping to research links and provide content for new COLC website
  • June 1999 – Appointment of full-time youthworker to YouthNet project
  • July 1999 – Presentation of display about In-Touch Multilingual project at conference on employment and ethnic minorities, arranged by the Ethnic Community Forum and Cambridge City Council and held at the Cambridge Corn Exchange
  • July 1999 Launch of internet tutorials at Newmarket Road Community Library
  • August 1999 – Work with a number of volunteers in the drafting of content for the new COLC website
  • September 1999 – Partnership with Cambridge Evening News in their launch as a new free ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • October 1999 – Establishment of new COLC access points at Fawcett County Primary School in Trumpington, Cambridge, at the City Council’s multipurpose facility at 82 Akeman Street
  • October 1999 – Administrator and second Project Worker appointed for Pathways
  • November 1999 – Comprehensive upgrade of computer equipment and internet facilities at COLC access point at City Homes South in Cherry Hinton Road
  • December 1999 – Appointment of COLC’s new Project Administrator (Maureen Martindell)
  • December 1999 – Establishment of online services at the computer suite at St Matthew’s County Primary School, in partnership with the Community Education Department of Parkside Community College

2000

  • January 2000 – Active development work on Sylheti language pilot for In-Touch Multilingual project, and successful demonstration of associated software
  • January 2000 – Launch of internet tutorials at Fawcett County Primary School
  • February 2000 – Comprehensive upgrade of computer equipment and internet facilities at COLC access point at Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services at Llandaff Chambers
  • February 2000 – Launch of internet tutorials at St Matthew’s County Primary School
  • March 2000 – Completion of establishment of thoroughly researched database of links for new COLC website, providing links to over 1000 clearly described and well categorized websites likely to be of particular interest to the general public in Cambridge
  • March 2000 – Pathways Project wins Cambridgeshire Lifelong Learning Partnership award for its particular impact
  • March 2000 – Pathways engaged to provide one year’s consultancy for Cambridgeshire Libraries & Information Service on the Library Access and Learning Project for disabled users
  • April 2000 – Completion of supporting content for new COLC website, and its demonstration for project participants
  • May 2000 – New COLC website goes live
  • 30 June 2000 – Formal launch of Sylheti language In Touch pilot with Anne Campbell MP, Cambridge Mayor Evelyn Knowles and Peter Oteng of the Commission for Racial
  • 25 July 2000 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 25,000th hit since 1 June
  • September 2000 – Establishment of two new COLC access points at the Indian Cultural and Community Association, which hosts the In Touch project and at the East Barnwell Youth Centre, a focus for the YouthNet
  • 27 September 2000 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 50,000th hit since 1 June
  • November 2000 – Extensive revisions to COLC’s New User tutorial, including addition of extensive
  • 12 December 2000 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 80,000th hit since 1 June

2001

  • January 2001 – COLC’s 2000th one-to-one internet tutorial delivered
  • 8 February 2001 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 100,000th hit since 1 June 2000 and is featured in Cambridge Evening News
  • February 2001 – Partnership established with ‘Parents First’ for delivering internet training
  • March 2001 – Partnership established with Centre at St Pauls for the delivery of one-to-one internet tutorials
  • April 2001 – Addition to the COLC websites’s online New User tutorial of guidance on interactive aspects of the internet (discussion forums, email lists, newsgroups and chatrooms)
  • May 2001 – Partnership established by Pathways Project with Abilitynet
  • May 2001 – New website established by Pathways
  • 4 May 2001 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 125,000th hit since 1 June
  • 28 May 2001 – New COLC access point established in the Community Wing, St Andrews Junior School.
  • Also offers the In-Touch Multilingual
  • 5 June 2001 – New COLC access point established at the Ethnic Community
  • 7 June 2001 – New COLC access point established in Jimmy’s Night
  • 27 June 2001 – New COLC access point established in the Outpatients Department at Addenbrookes Hospital.
  • 27 June 2001 – COLC website’s homepage counter logs its 140,000th hit since 1 June
  • July 2001 – Addition to the COLC websites’s online tutorial about creating your own
  • September 2001 – Addition to the COLC websites’s online tutorial about online
  • October 2001 – Easy to read index implemented in
  • October 2001 – Formal opening of St Andrews COLC access point with tutorials and In-Touch.
  • December 2001 – Pathways Project wins £78, 866 grant from NLCB Community Fund to continue providing free training and access to specialist equipment and computers for people with disabilities over the next three

2002

  • January 2002 – Google search box put into website site search
  • February 2002 – Website ‘About COLC’ section updated
  • March 2002 – 200,000 hits on homepage of website
  • March 11 2002 – Caroline Jefferson joins COLC for a few months, on secondment from Cambridgeshire County Council
  • March 2002 – Discussion Board introduced on website
  • April 2002 – Grant for Pathways Project from Awards for All to fund a part-time post for a second Project Worker
  • April 2002 – Community Learning Centre project is launched, funded by NOF and UK Online. Cambridge Online City is one of the partners
  • May 2002 – New colourful look for website
  • June 2002 – Louise Tondeur joins Cambridge Online City as Outreach Worker and Internet Tutor
  • June 2002 – David Herbert joins Pathways Project as Project Worker
  • July 2002 – Rachel Talbot takes over as Chair of the Executive Baord from Mike Hosking, who had been Chair since Cambridge Online City was set up
  • August 2002 – Quarter of a million hits on homepage of website
  • August 2002 – Company name changed to Cambridge Online, although it will still be known as Cambridge Online City
  • November 2002 – New access point at East Barnwell Community Centre

2003

  • January 2003 – New access point at Centre St Pauls
  • February 2003 – 300,000 hits reached on COLC