How a community group developed their own guide to the Internet

Veronica Frazier and John Cox, wrote this article in 1997.

The Bede Island Community Association (BICA) is an umbrella organisation with 60 members operating in the Leicester City Challenge area. BICA wanted to show members and anyone else interested how useful the Internet might be, so volunteers Veronica Frazier and John Cox carried out some research for a demonstration.

The result of their work was a set of Web pages with links to other sites that had information on topics likely to be of interest to community groups - for example, children & youth, crime prevention, disability, education and equality issues, as well as several reference sites about national and local government. It took several weeks of browsing around the Internet, as well as research in magazines' and newspapers' Internet sections.

They commented: 'The most useful resource we used was the search directory Yahoo. Approximately three quarters of the links we eventually used came from categories within Yahoo- particularly the UK & Ireland version of Yahoo (

'We decided to focus on the web sites and pages as our experience with newsgroups tended to be more bewildering than useful from a novice's point of view. (We felt as if we were constantly coming into a conversation midway and never quite figuring out what it was all about.)

'After finding relevant sites and making bookmarks, John sorted them into categories. This restructured bookmark file was then opened in the web editor to create our own links web page. Using the web editor was not much different from using any word processing or graphics package.

'Eventually the list of links became too large to be viewed without scrolling the page up and down, so John developed additional links pages.

You can view the BICA pages we created at

What's Really Needed.

Our conclusions on what's really needed to help groups are:

Our advice to other groups.

Use someone else's Internet connection (like your local cyber cafe, if you have one or a friend or co-worker) for your first try. It has the benefit of someone else being around to help you out. Failing that ask someone with demonstration equipment to organise a workshop and talk the local authority into funding it. And above all, keep persevering (remember the light bulb and the telephone didn't take off overnight either).

Value to be gained.

The Internet is an additional tool for communicating with other people in other communities around the nation and the rest of the world. With proper training and everyone using it as every day standard, the use of the Internet can greatly improve the networking of individuals and groups - making distances and time differences virtually inconsequential. When used effectively, it can be cheaper than traditional telephone methods and more responsive than traditional postal methods.

We are getting closer and closer to achieving immense benefits from using the Internet every day.

Article by Veronica Frazier
Web Pages by John Cox
e-mail us at

Resources Used

Internet Tools



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