Community groups and not-for-profit organisations across Leeds can promote their events for free on a network of publicly-prominent digital screens, after the city was chosen to trial a new initiative before anywhere else outside of London.
Only Leeds and the London borough of Southwark can, from today, benefit from InLink Local before it is rolled out nationally next year.
It means that groups including schools and charities that do not have the funds for traditional digital advertising can now use the city centre’s 17 InLink screens free of charge to showcase their activities alongside other council, community and paid-for commercial content.
Richard Jackson, chief officer of the Voluntary Action Leeds charity which has partnered with InLinkUK to bring the service to the city, said: “With the launch of InLink Local, InLinkUK is providing an excellent opportunity, helping voluntary and community groups showcase the amazing work they are doing in Leeds.”
Leeds joined BT’s InLinkUK network in December last year when it became the first UK city outside London to benefit from free services that the screens offer, ranging from free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, maps and access to community and charity services.
According to InLink, since the screens were installed nearly a year ago, they have been used to make 89,000 free phone calls, saving the community more than £148,000.
Through the new InLink Local service, community groups planning an event in Leeds can now use InLinks to display information on the three closest screens to the event’s address.
The information will be displayed for at least five days before the event begins.
Matt Bird, general manager of InLinkUK, said: “When we started this project, we wanted to make a difference in the communities we operate in, and supporting local organisations in Leeds is a big part of that.
“By providing the means for local community groups and non-profit organisations to promote their events and activities for free, we are continuing to use our InLinks to connect communities.”
Local organisations can submit their event for consideration using InLinkUK’s online application form.
They will receive an update if their submission has been selected within ten working days.
InLinkUK will take care of the design and quality of the display, so applicants only have to provide the event details.
Following their launch in Leeds and London, the screens are now available in 13 UK cities and have more than 215,000 subscribers to their free ultrafast Wi-Fi networks.
The innovative technology is being rolled out as part of an exclusive partnership between BT and London-based tech start up InLinkUK.
The project has been spurred by the removal of a large number of BT payphones in cities across the UK.
Their screen replacements offer Wi-Fi, phone calls and maps for free for everyone, with funding for the services generated by income from commercial advertising.
Exceeding the technological capabilities of public payphones, each We wan also offers free device charging, an emergency 999 call button and public messaging capabilities.
Community groups can submit an event to be shown on InLink screens at www.inlinkuk.com/inlink-local.html.
The Yorkshire Evening Post runs a regular Digital City column in partnership with Sky Betting & Gaming.
The platform aims to highlight the giant strides being made by a sector that boasts around 3,000 organisations in Leeds.