Microsoft doles out grants to UK charities

Campaign to eliminate technology illiteracy

Microsoft has awarded grants totalling £177,500 to Age Concern and Citizens Online as part of its Unlimited Potential (UP) programme, an initiative designed to provide technologically disadvantaged groups with access to the skills and resources to get online. On top of the cash, the charities will receive software and educational material.

Age Concern will use the money to set up a mobile IT training facility for socially and geographically isolated people in the south-west of the UK. Gordon Lishman, Director General, Age Concern England said the aim is to introduce IT and the Internet to older people who may not have encountered it before.

Under the UP banner, a more general award scheme is also to be established in the UK later this year, in partnership with Citizens Online, to support IT skills training for under-served individuals. This scheme will reward innovative approaches to IT training with access to greater resources.

By the middle of 2003, 48 per cent of homes in the UK had access to the Net – compared with just 9 per cent in 1999, according the National Statistics office. However, access is geographically-patchy and there are many communities where levels of access are well below the national average.

Microsoft says it will invest more than $1bn in its campaign to ‘eliminate technology illiteracy’ over the next five years. ®

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