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Technology Trust To Launch Online Hub For Social Good

A new online knowledge centre for organisations working in the field of technology and social good is to be launched in June by the charity Nominet Trust, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The trust (
http://bit.ly/aXFbxD ),
the UK’s largest charitable fund for social IT projects, was set up with £8 million from the UK’s internet domain name registry Nominet to fund UK-based and international internet-related initiatives in the sectors of education, research and development, safety and inclusion meeting the needs of the young, the elderly, the disabled and sick, the disadvantaged, and other vulnerable groups.

Its new online network, set to launch in June, will include a monitoring centre tracking all its investments and allowing funded bodies to submit quarterly reports online; and a ‘knowledge centre’ allowing groups to network. It aims to become the biggest hub for best practice sharing in its fields of funding, trust chairman Jonathan Welfare told E-Access Bulletin at last week’s Digital Inclusion conference in London (
http://bit.ly/aFvYk7 ).

Nominet Trust has been investing since February 2009 with 36 grants made to date, totalling £1.9m. Its smallest grant so far has been £1,000 to a primary school in Derbyshire to help produce a pamphlet on the potential dangers of the internet designed by its pupils and disseminated to other schools throughout the county by the education authority; and the largest has been £0.5 million to the charity UnLtd (‘unlimited’) ( http://bit.ly/cKD3Qy ) which in turn funds smaller social IT projects across the UK.

One of the trust’s first grants in April 2009 was made to the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB), to fund remote technical support people with impaired vision. Other funded groups include Screenreader.net, creator of free text-to-speech software ‘Thunder’; ACE Centre Advisory Trust, for SpeechBubble, a comparison web site for disability communications aids; AbilityNet, for a project supporting accessible digital educational materials; and Citizens Online, for a project logging and fixing website accessibility problems.

Any group can apply for a grant at any time, with new funding decisions made quarterly.

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