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MS doles cash to UK charities

Fairbridge and Leonard Cheshire boost IT skills

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Microsoft is giving two British charities, Fairbridge and Leonard Cheshire, cash grants totalling £182,500 plus software and training materials to help them reduce the digital divide.

Fairbridge works with disadvantaged young people between 13 and 25 not in employment or training. It is receiving £50,000 from the software giant. The money will support and extend the charity's IT training courses in Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

A spokeswoman for Fairbridge said: "We will be able to improve and update the IT courses we offer young people. It's the first time we've worked with Microsoft and it means we'll be able to give people access to technology and the Internet who otherwise would not have it."

Leonard Cheshire works with young disabled people and is using its money to set up IT training centres in Cumbria, Derby and London. It will offer training to disabled youngsters to improve employment prospects and personal skills.

Microsoft is also supporting the Metropolitan Police's Karrot Internet Bus. The bus offers Internet access to young people in Southwark - thanks to the grant it will now operate at weekends as well as during the week. This will mean an extra 4,000 young people will get access to its services this year.

The grants are part of Microsoft's "Unlimited Potential" programme which seeks to "to tackle the issue of increasing access and provision of IT skills in the UK". A complete list of Unlimited Potential grant recipients worldwide is available here.

Microsoft is also offering 25 awards of £2,000 to UK community groups and charities offering IT training to disadvantaged people. More details here ®

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