Hartlepool groups offered chance to apply for technology grants

Donna Easby (left) of NPS with Hartlepool Council's Kirsty Swanson.
Donna Easby (left) of NPS with Hartlepool Council's Kirsty Swanson.

Community and voluntary organisations are being reminded they have the chance to apply for a technology grant.

Hartlepool Borough Council and Northgate Public Services (NPS) are working together for a seven-year contract to serve the community.

This has resulted in NPS creating its Regional Business Centre in the former Bryan Hanson House building, securing 235 jobs in the town.

The Northgate Community Fund provides a £40,000 pot each year to enhance IT skills.

The £30,000 grant, from the Northgate Public Services Community Fund, is helping improve Hartlepool’s Information Technology abilities.

Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The fund is designed to improve people’s IT skills, which are so important in today’s society”

Joe Bradley, executive director with Northgate Public Services, said: “The NPS Community Fund demonstrates our commitment to supporting local people and forms part of our commitment with the council.”

In order for an organisation to be accepted for the grant, they must have been providing a service for Hartlepool for more than 12 months and must not be receiving any other forms of funding from the council.

Organisations can use the money to fund training courses to enhance core IT skills.

They can use it to buy equipment that allows them to have online access for their business such as using it to promote their services and engage in their digital community.

The technology grant will also support the training of local people, schools and teachers to enhance digital skills.

With the support of NPS, the town will receive £2.9million to the local economy.

Mr Bradley added: “Improving local people’s digital skills is top priority.”

An organisation that benefited from the scheme last year was Hartlepool Deaf Centre, which was awarded £1,400.

Wendy Harrison, Hartlepool Deaf Centre co-ordinator, said: “We had eight deaf people whose ages ranged from 65 to 85 years, and I feel that the funding made a huge difference to them.

“By the end of the course, they were able to use the internet, email, access to council and GP online services, Facebook and online visual messaging services such as FaceTime and Skype.”

Application forms can be obtained from Kirsty Swanson on (01429) 523003 by June 26.