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£750,000 FOR UK COMPUTERS

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Wiltshire's Window on the world for the housebound ...
Wiltshire's Window on the world for the housebound

Southampton scores seven from lotto

Thanet link to Cyberspace

£250,000 lottery cash to learn online in Powys (Wales)

WILTSHIRE'S WINDOW ON THE WORLD FOR THE HOUSEBOUND

Swindon project wins lottery cash for the severely disabled to get online

Being stuck at home, severely disadvantaged by disabilities, could be

depressing. But for hundreds of housebound people in Wiltshire an exciting

new challenge is imminent.

Through the Swindon-based Scamp project, volunteers will bring lap-top

computers to those suffering from motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy,

severe arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hearing and vision impairments,

agoraphobia, or the aftermath of stroke and also to amputees, or those who

have suffered road traffic accidents. This will spread computer skills and

equipment to every corner of the county.

A hundred homebound Wiltshire residents from Malmesbury to Salisbury,

Trowbridge to Chippenham, Calne and Amesbury will join the project's list of

500 clients with new funding awarded today.

The New Opportunities Fund, the largest National Lottery distributor of

good-cause cash, is awarding Scamp£22,280 in addition to the£32,000 grant

given in September 2000.

An imaginative nationwide programme from the New Opportunities Fund, called

Community Access to Lifelong Learning, will help break down the digital

divide between the computer haves and have-nots. It is awarding£100

million of National Lottery good cause money throughout the UK to local

neighbourhood computer centres offering free hands-on experience, internet

access and computer learning possibilities. The New Opportunities Fund's

programme aims to improve the quality of life particularly for disadvantaged

groups.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the New Opportunities Fund, said:

'UK online centres, some of which go out to communities through outreach

services, will be joining the nation together by this massive technology

network. When projects focus on groups with disabilities or from deprived

areas, the Fund is ensuring this is an inclusive scheme: everyone will have

a chance to gain new learning opportunities and to improve their quality of

life.'

Scamp member, Francesca Stout, who has benefited from the project's computer

service, said:

'I have found that getting on the internet through Scamp has changed my life

considerably. I have many friends online, many of whom have disabilities

similar to mine.'

The project was formed in 1997 and provides computers on long-term loan to

severely disabled people, aged from 19 to 90 plus, in their own homes. The

computers are connected to the internet and Scamp provides training on how

to use the technology and gives continued support. Where appropriate,

specialist hardware and software are installed to enable the client to use

the computer to the best of their ability. Some clients have their own

equipment but come to Scamp (most members are self-referred) for training

and to access and communicate with other people having similar disabilities.

SOUTHAMPTON SCORES SEVEN FROM LOTTO

Local projects win lottery cash for Hampshire communities to get online

People with disabilities and health problems, alongside carers and the

homeless, will benefit from seven projects in Southampton and one in Havant

that will bring computer skills and equipment to local Hampshire

communities.

The New Opportunities Fund, the largest national lottery distributor of

good-cause money, is awarding£374,000 to eight projects in the south

Hampshire area to spread enthusiasm and expertise on on-line opportunities

to new learners.

A recent local survey showed that 70% of Southampton's population had no

access to a computer at all, and that of the 30% that did just one in three

of those could access the internet. This led to 14 organisations making a

collaborative bid for lottery funding to provide computer technology for

local communities who want it and need it, led by Southampton City College.

The New Opportunities Fund's Community Access to Lifelong Learning programme

aims to improve the quality of life particularly for disadvantaged groups.

This project is based in the St Mary's and Bevois Town area of the city

which has a high proportion of people from ethnic minorities, has high

unemployment, and is a major placement area for asylum seekers and refugees.

It will open adult learning centres in four schools, four Gurdwaras, four

Mosques, and at the Islamic Cultural Centre for Women.

John Roath, from the Council of Southampton Gurdwaras, said: 'This award of

£68,000 is wonderful news. The community is thrilled. We can't wait to get

started.'

A day facility for people with mental health problems in Southampton is

where members of the Mind Southampton and New Forest Café Club come to

socialise and participate in art and poetry activities. A new computer

centre is being supported by the New Opportunities Fund with an award of

£17,000 to help provide club members with new skills that will build their

self esteem. Some will take a path from informal to formal qualifications

and ultimately back into the workforce. Manager Steve Sammut said: 'This

dynamic initiative will mean that we shall be able to expand in an exciting

way.'

Mr Sammut continued: 'Mind Southampton and New Forest will now offer

improved services to some of the most disadvantaged people who suffer from

mental health problems living in Southampton.'

Four further UK online centres will be set up at the Townhill Park Youth

Centre for all residents from the nearby housing estate, the No-Limits

information and advice centre at Sholing, the Hexagon centre for disabled

people, and the Ford Partnership Centre. Adults from the local social

housing estate and parents of children attending schools together with

people with visual impairments and their carers will primarily benefit from

the Solent SkillQuest project.

Chief executive Angela Wright said: 'People who have had limited access to

computers and information will learn new skills and be able to communicate

with friends and families all over the world for the cost of a local call.

They will know first hand why 'information is power' and be empowered to use

ICT as a tool to improve their own lives and opportunities.'

People with hearing impairments will be the main group at one of the ten

community-based UK online centres being set up by Havant Borough Council.

People with severe disabilities will benefit from a Southampton project at

the Sembal House centre, and the users of the cyber café at Bedford House

who suffer multiple barriers to learning will be able to start their

introduction to computers through drop-in sessions. Homeless people at the

Two Saints hostel will be offered digital photography as an interest-grabber

into the world of computers. Adults with severe and enduring medical

illness will benefit from another project being set up at Morris House.

THANET LINK TO CYBERSPACE

Local project wins lottery cash for communities to get on-line

Thanet online is opening a new world for residents of Margate, Broadstairs,

Ramsgate and the Isle of Thanet with over£100 thousand grant money from the

National Lottery.

The New Opportunities Fund is awarding£117,000 to the Thanet online project to bring

computer skills and equipment to every corner of the Isle of Thanet using

fixed centres and a mobile unit.

Both the MIND centres in Margate and Ramsgate, and the Oasis Women's Refuge

will have computer access points to encourage users to get on-line and learn

new skills. A further dozen access points will offer a network of

workstations - in partnership with voluntary, community, and private

organisations. Local Thanet residents and small local businesses, which are

new to information and communications technology (ICT), will have access to

a network of seven new main UK online centres in the coastal towns and in

the rural area of Minster. The project, led by Thanet College, is also

providing a mobile unit to cover other rural areas.

The aim is for the people of Thanet to have fun, improve their

employment-based skills, or manage their own lives through 21st century

computer technology.

NOTES

1 Eight projects in the Southampton/Havant area are awarded£374,000;

a project in Thanet is awarded£117,000; and a project in Swindon, covering

Wiltshire, is receiving an additional award of£22,280. The total for

England is£513,280. A project in Powys, Wales, is awarded£233,173,

making the UK total£746,453.

2 The New Opportunities Fund Community Access to Lifelong Learning

programme has awarded almost£89m to over 940 projects in the UK. It

supports projects, and UK online centres in England that also receive

capital funding from the Department for Education and Skills.

ABOUT THE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FUND

The New Opportunities Fund distributes National Lottery money to health,

education and environment projects across the UK. We support sustainable

projects that will:

* improve the quality of life of people throughout the UK;

* address the needs of those who are most disadvantaged in society;

* encourage community participation;

* complement relevant local and national strategies and programmes.

Funding for programmes is divided between England, Scotland, Northern

Ireland and Wales on the basis of population weighted to reflect levels of

deprivation.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FUND ICT EDUCATION PROGRAMMES ACROSS THE UK

COMMUNITY ACCESS TO LIFELONG LEARNING -£200million (including£100m

for libraries)

ICT TRAINING: £230m for ICT training for teachers and school

librarians;£20m for ICT training for public library staff.

NOF-DIGITISE£50m

Details on www.nof-digitise.org

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