BT is to provide a free laptop as well as a year’s worth of free broadband to deserving charity and community groups across Ireland as part of a strategy to reduce digital exclusion among citizens.
The BT Community Connections award scheme has been running in the UK since 2000, and more than 6,000 awards have been made to a diverse range of groups.
BT said launched the awards in the Republic of Ireland because it believes that enhanced communications helps to create a fairer, more inclusive society
BT Ireland CEO Chris Clark said that while the internet has become a crucial aspect in the daily life of many, there are people who are missing out on the opportunities to email, network, find training, secure a job and access vital services provided by the web.
“Our approach is to find new ways to help people take full advantage of the huge benefits offered by the internet. In today’s digital world, exclusion from the internet has become a key facet of social exclusion.
“We are very proud to now empower local communities by extending these highly successful awards into the Republic of Ireland,” Clark said.
The scheme runs over an 18-month period, with two rounds in June 2009 and January 2010, offering a total of up to 80 award packages across the island of Ireland.
By John Kennedy
Pictured at the launch of BT Community Connections award scheme, which aims to tackle digital exclusion by helping 80 charities and communities to get online were: Chris Clark, CEO, BT, with Tina Roche, CEO, Business in the Community, and children from the City of Dublin YMCA – young people’s project