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CTX Northern Ireland Launch
Minister Margaret Richie Officially Launches Charity Technology eXchange Donation Programme for Non-Profit Organisations In Northern Ireland
Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec to donate technology worth up to £20m through Charity Technology eXchange.
Belfast: April 24th, 2008 - Ms Margaret Richie, Minister for Social Development today officially launched a technology donation programme for non-profit organisations in Northern Ireland. The programme, run by Charity Technology Trust, is supported by Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec and will provide every qualifying non profit with access to technology donations from the supporting companies. It is estimated that up to 4,000 organisations can benefit from this new initiative and can receive technology with a cumulative value of up to £20m per annum.
View the launch story on Flickr. The Flickr photo sharing service, in partnership with TechSoup, has teamed up with CTT to offer premium "pro" accounts to individuals within eligible organisations via the Flickr Donation Programme.
Commenting at the launch Minister Richie said: “Technology is an enabler which will help organisations to achieve things for themselves and their clients which they would not otherwise be able to do. Cost can act as a barrier to technology for organisations operating in the community and voluntary sector. The Charity Technology eXchange initiative is to be welcomed as it will ensure that more nonprofits will benefit from advances in technology - something that will help them to further develop their own services.
“I commend all those responsible for establishing this programme in Northern Ireland and congratulate Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec for supporting the initiative with substantial amounts of technology and grants.”
The programme is being run in partnership with US based TechSoup, a non-profit technology assistance agency that has been supporting non-profits in the area of technology for 21 years. Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec have actively been involved in making technology donations for non-profits in the US and in other parts of the world through their involvement with TechSoup. Since 2006, TechSoup has expanded its software donations platform to 12 countries around the world including the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Technology Donations in Action
Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish Community Association is one of the early beneficiaries of the programme in Northern Ireland. The charity provides services for an outlying rural community. The local geography is one of the reasons for the charity’s existence.
“One of the biggest issues is social isolation,” explains Robert Stockley, the charity’s only full time worker. “People don’t have the same access to services as they would in a town – let alone in the city.”
To help address this, the Association runs a variety of practical activities and groups, such as youth groups and older people’s groups from its base in Laurencetown. Although the organisation enjoys lots of support from the local community, it manages on an annual budget of £76,000.
“The charity has recently set up an after-school youth group for secondary school kids,” explains Robert. “We provide Internet access for those who don’t have it at home and can’t get to a library; they come here to do their homework. Donated security software from Symantec and copies of Encarta and Microsoft Office has made a real difference to the initiative.” Would this have happened without CTX? “On a much smaller scale,” explains Robert. “They might have had to come in to use our office computer to type a letter, for instance.”
Speaking about the strong level of industry support Peter Russell, Regional Manager for Microsoft Northern Ireland, said: “Through our Unlimited Potential programme Microsoft is continually looking at new and innovative ways that technology can support people and organisations working with those in need. We have a long tradition of actively supporting organisations in the non-profit sector in Ireland through the donation of financial grants and software, however, the processes and structures that Charity Technology eXchange brings to the donation programme will broaden the reach of our donations and provide a simple and accessible way for nonprofits to access the latest technology.
“We see on a daily basis the impact that access to technology can have on people and on organisations - our primary objective is to ensure that everyone can reach their potential by providing access to technology for as many people as possible. We believe that Charity Technology eXchange is the right vehicle to help us achieve this objective and would encourage and welcome all eligible organisations to apply for a donation and would encourage other technology companies to join us in supporting this important initiative.”
William Hoyle, Chief Executive of Charity Technology Trust said that feedback from the non-profit sector to the donations programme has already been strong. “Having access to standard technology is vital for every non-profit organisation in order to offer their services at the high standard people deserve. However budgets are often under too much pressure to allow the necessary investment in ICT. Charity Technology eXchange will give these organisations access to critical technology to more efficiently deliver services to the most needy and better use donor funds. The technology donations also open the door to delivery of new and innovative services with better communication and participation with those who benefit from their service.”
”We aim to improve the communities in which we work through a combination of monetary donations, employee volunteerism and product donations,” said Austin McCabe, vice president, Symantec Corporation in Ireland. “The Charity Technology eXchange programme offers us the structure and means to get the latest Symantec technology directly into the hands of local organisations. Through software donations we see Symantec playing a positive role in helping non-profits in Ireland safely leverage the Internet to advance their causes and affect positive change while freeing up their funds to concentrate on charitable missions.”
"This is a wonderful opportunity for voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland. NICVA is convinced that new technology, applied well, can greatly enhance the ability of our members to deliver more efficient and effective services to people who need them. The high costs involved have put many organisations in a spot as their funds are always under pressure. It is brilliant that organisations of the size and scale of Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec are going to help, and help big time," said Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive, NICVA.
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