Group sets out to close digital gap

Graham Willgoss

A national charity dedicated to providing ICT skills and internet access claims it can "close the digital divide in the 50 most deprived areas in the UK for as little as £3m" simply by expanding its current scheme.

Citizens Online is now seeking this funding from its partners at the Alliance for Digital Inclusion, as well as from central and local government and rural development agencies.

The charity launched its EverybodyOnline project, sponsored by BT and Microsoft, in August 2002. In its first two years, the project targeted eight communities where levels of internet connectivity and access to ICT were among the lowest in the UK. National Office of Statistics figures show that internet usage in one - in Audley, Staffordshire - was measured at four times the national average over the last three months of the project.

Catherine Maxwell, director of projects for Citizens Online, said: "EverybodyOnline is dedicated to improving literacy, employability and economic growth locally."

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