Villagers in Staxton launch Whatsapp support as crash leaves them without internet and landlines

Villagers in Staxton who are still without the internet and phone landlines after an accident last week are rallying round to keep each other connected.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 11:59 am
Phone line cabinet destroyed at Staxton

The village’s phone line cabinet, beside the A64, was demolished when a vehicle crashed into it on Wednesday night.

The vehicle came off the road near the traffic lights at the bottom of Staxton Hill.

Residents have not had any internet connection or the use of their landlines since but some have started a WhatsApp group for their street to ensure no one is left isolated or vulnerable.

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Mel Rispin, of Lowfields, said: “I set up a WhatsApp group for our street to chat to each other so we limit our physical contact and still be a community and get each other what we need.

“I’d like to invite other streets to do the same.”

Mrs Rispin said the area has a large number of elderly residents who may be cut off by the lack of internet or landline coverage, and she wants to ensure they, in particular, have any help they need.

“We are currently trying to identify who on our street only has a landline and will be completely cut off,” she added.

“We have a lot of elderly and vulnerable residents in our village. They retire here because our views are so lovely and because of our isolated rural , which is ironic as it now causes an issue for us as the phone lines are set to be down for several days to come, our mobile phone reception is not the best and our 4G reception is the same.

“No one is buying prom or wedding dresses at the moment so I have the time to help by doing this.”

BT Open Reach engineers are working at the site but the company has said giving a timescale at this stage is 'difficult' as reinstating the cabinet is a major undertaking.

A spokeswoman for BT Open Reach said: "In the current situation we completely understand that connectivity has never been more important and our engineers will do everything possible to get service back up and running as quickly as possible."