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First winners of AOL Innovation in the Community Awards announced

Howard Lake | 11 August 2003 | News

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Thirty community groups and charities have won the first AOL Innovation in the Community Awards.

The awards scheme was set up in March 2003 by online interactive services provider AOL and the charity Citizens Online to help communities make the most of the Internet. The winning organisations’ proposals demonstrated innovation and a clear understanding of how the online medium can benefit the audiences they serve.

The winning applicants receive an AOL Innovation in the Community Award of £2,000 plus a year’s free subscription to AOL.

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The awards were open to any community group or registered charity in the UK requiring support for an existing or new online project that would have a positive impact on the local or wider community. More than 800 applications were received. As a result, AOL and Citizens Online doubled the initial number of awards available from 15 to 30.

The winning projects serve a broad cross-section of audiences and range from Internet-based “Reminiscence Sessions” for older people in Herefordshire, to the development of a Web-based radio station for teenagers in Gwent, and the setting up of an Internet café for people with visual impairment in Berkshire. A number of organisations are planning to use their AOL Innovation in the Community Awards to set up innovative websites and other online resources that will directly benefit the local community.

Citizens Online chief executive John Fisher said: “The interest in the awards is a strong indication of how many communities are becoming aware of the many advantages that are available from the Internet.”

AOL UK’s CEO Karen Thomson added: “We were overwhelmed by the response to the awards – it’s the first year we have run them and we received over 800 applications. It just goes to show how important the Internet is for so many community groups and charities across the UK.”

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