POOLE’S Victorian park is about to become the first in the UK to offer free wi-fi to its visitors.

In a few weeks’ time, people will be able to pop in to Poole Park and log on to the worldwide web through a laptop or a mobile – creating their own outdoor office.

The initiative from the Friends of Poole Park has been welcomed by nearby Bournemouth and Poole College and the Borough of Poole, who have both contributed towards the £8,000 funding.

“This will be the first public park in the UK to have free wi-fi,” said Bob Lister, former chairman of the Friends.

“You will be able to go into the park with a laptop, have a cup of coffee and a sandwich, sit on a bench provided by the Friends and away you go.”

There will be powerful routers in the Mezza Luna restaurant and the Cygnet Café and the log-on zone will stretch from the cricket pitch to the West Field, taking in most of the park.

“The only parks to have them are in the US,” said Bob. “It’s quite a coup.”

The initiative will allow webcams to be used for Fest 09 and help many events staged during the year.

The wi-fi will also be accesible by those who have internet-enabled mobile phones, meaning they can use the free service instead of their contract package.

College marketing director Julie-Anne Houldey said they were delighted to sponsor the project.

“It will be an excellent resource for students and staff at the College who can use their WAP (mobile internet) enabled equipment and laptops while enjoying the beautiful Poole Park surroundings.

“Not only that, but we are proud to be able to help local residents and workers utilise modern technologies,” she said.

“The Bournemouth and Poole College is part of the local community and we are keen to support people living and working in the region.”

Cllr Peter Adams, cabinet portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “This is a good example of co-operation between town and gown.”

He welcomed the innovative scheme, which would benefit students as well as others visiting the park.