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AOL Preps Community Innovation Award

Posted: 22nd Mar, 2004 By: MarkJ
ISP AOL UK has today launched the Innovation in the Community Awards 2004, inviting applications from UK community groups and charities seeking funding for Internet projects:

AOL UK and Citizens Online invite applications for AOL Innovation in the Community Awards 2004

AOL UK and the national charity Citizens Online today launched the AOL Innovation in the Community Awards 2004, inviting applications from UK community groups and charities seeking funding for Internet projects.

There are 30 awards, each consisting of £2,000 plus a year’s free subscription to AOL, on offer to non-profit organisations that already use the Internet or that want to get online for the first time. Further information about the awards can be found at www.aol.co.uk/innovation and the closing date for applications is 11 June 2004.

The AOL Innovation in the Community Awards were launched last year to encourage innovative use of the Internet amongst community groups and charities across the UK. Organisations applying for the awards in 2003 included arts projects, carers networks, disability charities, out-of-school clubs and parents groups. The 30 awards were used to fund activities including the development of Web sites, building a cybercafé, providing IT and Internet training, setting up online forums and chat rooms, and purchasing specialist IT equipment. Details of some of the award recipients in 2003 can be found below and a full list of recipients is available at http://www.aol.co.uk/innovation

John Fisher, Chief Executive of Citizens Online, commented: “The interest shown in the first year of the awards was phenomenal. Awards such as this give real opportunities to small charities and community groups to become involved in and to gain from everything that the digital arena offers.”

Karen Thomson, Chief Executive of AOL UK, said: “The response to our 2003 awards proved that whilst UK community groups and charities are embracing the Internet, they often require financial support to get their projects off the ground. We have been able to support 30 innovative grassroots Internet projects over the past nine months, ranging from an Internet café for blind and visually impaired people to arts and computer workshops for children.”

“We are looking forward to receiving applications for this year’s awards and helping to bring the benefits of the Internet to more local communities and specific user groups across the UK,” she added.

Kourtney Harper of the Guy Fox History Project in Southwark, which received an AOL Innovation in the Community Award last year, said: "The award has been put towards training people to run our arts and computer workshops for children. One group of 10 year olds wrote, designed and illustrated a magazine about the Elephant and Castle area of South London – they were so enthused about the project, they wanted to do more, so we worked with them to design a Web site. It's our first effort at multimedia design and it includes cool animation and interactivity."

Representatives of organisations interested in applying for an AOL Innovation in the Community Award can either download the application form from www.aol.co.uk/innovation or request a form by calling the awards hotline on 020 7348 8390 or emailing ukinnovation@aol.com. Further information about the awards is available at www.aol.co.uk/innovation or at AOL Keyword: Innovation Awards. The 2004 award recipients will be invited to an awards ceremony in London in September 2004.

Other AOL Innovation in the Community Award recipients in 2003 include:

The Berkshire County Blind Society, based in Reading - to set up an Internet café for blind and visually impaired people across the region

The Bladder Pain Syndrome Association, based in Belvedere, Kent, but operating nationally – to update the chat room facility on its website and host regular live chats with medical professionals for bladder pain sufferers

Lineham Farm Children’s Centre in Leeds, which provides free holidays to disadvantaged and disabled children – to fund equipment and resources to develop the charity's IT capabilities, including the centre's Web site

Project Ability, an arts organisation in Glasgow – to create a website where young homeless people can exhibit their work and give the public an insight into the many complex issues behind homelessness

Working With Words, a charity in Woolwich – to purchase specialist IT equipment for people with learning disabilities

Applicants must fulfil the entry criteria for the AOL Innovation in the Community Awards and agree to the Terms and Conditions (details in the application pack). The 30 award recipients will receive a year’s free AOL Flat Rate dial-up subscription worth £164.89, subject to Terms and Conditions.
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