SEVEN organisations in Hartlepool have been awarded almost £30,000 in grant funding to boost users’ computer skills.
Groups that work with young people, the disabled and in deprived neighbourhoods successfully bid for grants.
The money, totalling £28,940, will come from a fund set up by Hartlepool Borough Council’s technology partner Northgate.
Funding through the Northgate Community Fund was set aside for voluntary and community groups to help them increase users’ IT skills and access digital services.
Seven successful bids were approved by the council’s Finance and Policy Committee.
Andrew Atkin, the council’s assistant chief executive, told the meeting: “Some very good, worthwhile schemes are going to be supported as a result of the money identified.
“The applications meet a broad range of needs and potentially disadvantaged or excluded groups, and are therefore beneficial in up-skilling and providing opportunities for a range of local people.”
Incontrol-able, a disabled people’s user-led organisation has been awarded just over £5,000. It will be used to loan tablets to blind and visually impaired people to help them access digital media at home and selected community venues.
Mr Atkin said in a report: “The difference Icontrol-able are hoping to make is that people experiencing a visual impairment will become more independent, empowered, confident, self-managing and socially included.”
The Rifty Youth Project was awarded £4,937, for IT equipment towards their work in the Manor ward, which was in the top ten most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in 2010.
Another beneficiary is Hartlepool Deaf Centre which successfully applied for £1,400 towards a ten-week training course providing core IT skills aimed at the over 50s.
The West View Advice and Resource Centre is being awarded £5,000 to a project to establish a series of IT and digital skills workshops.
Their aim is to increase clients’ confidence in using computer equipment and deliver basic IT training.
Performing Arts charity Red Dreams was given £5,000 from the fund towards a £28,000 project.
It will improve their facilities to support, train and mentor local groups surrounding IT and digital literacy.
The Wharton Trust Annexe has been awarded £2,600 to help it buy eight tablet devices for use in the centre and outside activities.
The final grant of £5,000 was given to Hartlepool College of Further Education to further develop the college’s Northgate Academy for apprentices.
The money will go towards the buying of smart board, tablets and laptop computers.