Bilsdale: charity given £50,000 to help vulnerable get TV signal


Last updated Sep 29, 2021
Paul Donovan, chief executive of Arqiva, says a temporary transmitter could be in place in three weeks time.
Paul Donovan, chief executive of Arqiva, says a temporary transmitter will restore 95% of TV coverage next week.

A charity which covers the Harrogate district is set to receive £50,000 to support people as television coverage is restored following the Bilsdale fire.

The transmitter has been out of service since August and left thousands in the district without television and radio signal.

Next week, an 80-metre temporary mast is set to be built which Arqiva, operator of Bilsdale, promises will restore 95% of coverage.

Ahead of the restoration, Paul Donovan, chief executive of the company, has announced Two Ridings Community Foundation will receive £50,000 to help support the over-65s and vulnerable people with their televisions after the swtich-on.

It will also be used to “support work on digital inclusion and social isolation”. County Durham Community Foundation has been allocated the same amount of funding.

Mr Donovan said:

“It was extremely helpful to have the support and input of our partners and stakeholders across the area as we work to fix this together. 

“Arqiva is absolutely committed to restoring services to those who are affected as quickly as possible, and to supporting the most vulnerable people as a priority.”

As part of the restoration on October 5, Arqiva will also have a helpline staffed by 75 people to help those who may still be without coverage despite the temporary mast being in place.

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Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, held a call with the company yesterday to hear an update on the transmitter.

He said on a local conservative run website:

“It is important that work proceeds on the temporary mast at pace as I know that several vulnerable constituents are without their main source of companionship and information.”

Last week, Arqiva confirmed the first of more than 200 air lifts of materials to the site of the 80-metre temporary transmitter had taken place.

It said 100 staff are currently on the Bilsdale moor site as part of the project.

However, Arqiva bosses warned that television services will be disrupted the day before the transmitter is switched on due to checks on the mast.

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