Morley’s going wi-fi! I’ve been working for many months with Morley Chamber and big local employer O2 to make our town centre a free wi-fi zone. I am really pleased that O2 have now agreed to a free trial. So in a few weeks time, Morley residents, visitors and shoppers will be able to access free wireless internet when they’re walking down the high street, browsing in our fabulous shops or having a cup of tea, pint or sandwich in one of our great local cafes or pubs. It’s another Morley first – the first market town in West Yorkshire to have free wifi in the town centre. It’s just one of the ideas we have been working on to get more shoppers in our town centre here in Morley. Businesses, especially retailers, have had a tough time in recent years. Morley’s fared better than many other towns, but with less money in people’s pockets, shops, cafes and other businesses have really been up against it. Over the last couple of years I’ve been working closely with the Morley Chamber, O2, Morrisons and local councillors to find new ways to help local businesses. “Anything that brings people into the town is a real help,” one local retailer told me last week. Regular readers may remember that 18 months back O2 agreed to support local businesses to set up their Priority Local app – allowing shops to put special offers and deals on their online app – alongside big national chains. Free wi-fi for the town was the natural next step and so I asked O2 if they could help support the town again. Big cities, including Leeds, Manchester and London, have been trialling free wifi for a while now - but in market towns like Morley it’s rare. Morley will be the first West Yorkshire town – and just the second in Yorkshire to go wi-fi. The opportunity is being provided free for local businesses, including Morley Market, for 12 months. The cost of the equipment, its installation and maintenance and the technical know-how is all free – and delivered by O2. All businesses have to do is sign up. If they decide they don’t want to continue after 12 months, the equipment can just be returned to O2. With the world increasingly online, it makes sense for visitors, shoppers and residents to be able to access the internet, emails and social media from a phone or tablet while they’re out and about. And of course businesses often have special offers and deals online which it’s useful to be able to access on the spot. Morley is already a great place to live, work and shop. Free wi-fi should be a real boost and will support efforts to bring more shopers nd visitors to the town to support local businesses. Any local business who wants to find out how to sign up for the pilot should contact Mike Holmes from O2 on 07834 317947 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can check it out with Rachael Kennedy from Morley Chamber via email@example.com or me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy surfing!
I am so pleased to see the Morley North Children’s centre has settled in at its new home in Morley Town Hall. It’s been a challenging year for the centre trying to find a new permanent home. But having endured two moves in 12 months, it’s a testament to the hard work of Michelle and her team that parents and children have followed the centre from Asquith Primary to St Mary’s Church and now to Morley Town Hall.Hopefully the latest move is now more permanent - it’s great to see so many toddlers running around the town hall. On Friday I joined parents and kids for a stay and play session, complete with magician, Truffles. From Playdough and Lego to their very own photo booth, the kids were having a great time. I know local families are still struggling with the cost of everything going up and wages not keeping track. Parents I’ve spoken to recently tell me how the increasing cost of childcare, in particular, has affected their family budget. Over the summer I’m conducting my annual summer survey of parents and families to see what the other pressure points are. There’s loads going on at both our Morley children’s centres. Parents who want to find out what’s on locally for families and kids over the summer should call 0113 247 7196, pick up one of my newsletters or download it from my website www.edballs.co.uk. And thanks to our wi-fi trial, Morley North Children’s Centre should soon be online too - all for free!