FUNDRAISING NEWS: Citizens Online and AOL offer awards to boost internet use

Citizens Online and AOL UK are launching a £30,000 national awards scheme to help community charities and groups improve their use of the internet.

Voluntary organisations can apply for 15 AOL Innovation in the Community Awards of £2,000, which can be used to either launch an online programme or improve existing internet services.

The awards will be open to a broad range of groups working on issues such as disability, regeneration, and social inclusion. The money could be used to support different kinds of online activity including broadband access, web site design or improving online security systems.

"The internet is a fantastic resource for local community groups - for communication, research and providing information via their own web site," said John Fisher, chief executive at Citizens Online. "Costs prevent many groups from getting online or improving existing facilities, which is where we step in."

Each winning organisation will also be eligible to apply for one further discretionary award of £5,000. Groups can download an application form from www.citizensonline.org.uk/aolawards.

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