Opportunities for work and learning.
Maggie Holgate says there is potential to use the Internet as a
delivery medium to teach new skills which will make people more
employable in the 21st century.
A cry for help answered on the
Internet. Mark Walker reports that the
idea of offering counselling over the Internet was first piloted by
the Samaritans at the end of 1994, and has proved highly successful.
Email as a tool for campaigning. US activist
and community networker Ed Schwartz recently wrote a book on the use
of the Internet for campaigning. He believes the most basic Internet
tools are the most useful.
Funding advice on the Web. FunderFinder,
a small national charity, has produced software for grant-makers
since 1991. Jo Habib describes what they considered in going on the
The benefits of Email for community
business. Kay Caldwell of the National
Network of Community Business explains how the benefits of the
Internet became apparent to community businesses which - like their
for profit equivalents - need to communicate locally and globally.
UK plc can't afford a generation of information have
nots. Two issues dominate discussion about
the Information Society: how to develop a globally competitive
workforce, and how to ensure 'have nots' aren't excluded. We can
have both if we use IT for lifelong learning, says Chris Yapp,
Managing Consultant, ICL Lifelong Learning.
Cyberskills open new opportunities in South
Bristol. South Bristol Learning Network
is one of the pioneers in bringing the benefits of new technology to
communities lacking jobs and opportunities to develop new skills.
Sally Abram reports on some of their successes.
New networks may help tackle old
problems. How can the Internet benefit
ordinary people and improve their quality of life? Stephen Wilson, a
former senior BT manager whose career has embraced many aspects of
customer service, network and information systems strategy offers a
Government plans electronic information for
all. David Wilcox reports that the
Government aims to promote the use of online information services to
the point where this is 'the preferred option for the majority of
government's customers (both citizens and businesses)'
The advantages of online advice. Gareth
Morgan, Managing Director, Ferret Information Systems, explains the
benefits of information systems using new technologies.
The issues you may face
Is the Internet a cause for concern?
Delia Venables - an independent computer consultant specialising in
computers for solicitors - examines some of the social, legal and
political issues that cause people concern about the Internet.
How a community group developed their own Internet
guide. The Bede Island Community
Association (BICA) is an umbrella organisation with 60 members
operating in the Leicester City Challenge area. BICA wanted to show
members and anyone else interested how useful the Internet might be,
so volunteers Veronica Frazier and John Cox carried out some
research for a demonstration.
Overcoming scepticism in Nottingham. It
can take some effort to overcome suspicion about new technology.
Groups in Nottingham are now taking a positive view, says Jem
Multi-media? Make mine a quilt.
University computer experts planning to help community groups in
Bristol use multimedia thought lack of ideas might be a problem.
Quite the reverse: projects now include autobiographical quilts and
telling the story of a community through an interactive map, reports
Morris Williams .
Who can help with Community Internet. Peter
Mason found there are some specialist organisations who can help
those interested in the community use of IT along the road to
Networking your organisation
Think before you connect, Voluntary
organisations often approach a technical expert for help with their
computer system. Paul Ticher - who worked as an adviser on IT to
non-profit organisations for nearly fifteen years - suggests there
are other issues to consider first.
Seven steps to building electronic
communities. There are hundreds of
community networks in North America, and growing interest in the UK
in how to create them. Here Philippa Gamse and Terry Grunwald, who
have long experience of US community IT projects, provide a
Who's who in providing community
information. David Miller of the
Department of Information Studies, Sheffield University, developed
the first Web site listing UK community information networks. Here
he distinguishes the different types of site under development.
Helping media consumers become
contributors. The University of Tampere,
Finland, is helping people in local communities use new media to
promote discussion and tackle social issues. Esa Sirkkunen describes
their Locality in the Net project.
Keeping people in touch and up to date.
Manchester Community Information Network provides public access
points with constantly updated local information - including one in
the Asda Superstore. They do this, says project manager Linda Doyle,
by ensuring information providers are responsible for their content
and answering public enquiries.
Craigmillar - a community development approach to
cyberspace, Rousseau, in his CONFESSIONS,
sardonically mused that, “it is never any good foreseeing the
future,” for he had, “never known how to avoid it.” Yet in a world
of rapid technological change it would be unwise to sleepwalk
blindly past the opportunities presented by the Information Society.
That recognition informed the thinking behind the creation of
Craigmillar Community Information Service in 1994, says its manager
Dr Andrew McDonald.
Rural Lincolnshire concentrates on
communication, Most local authorities
creating local information systems choose Web publishing. North
Kesteven decided on a more interactive approach as Clive Redshaw,
their Head of Economic and Community Development, explains.
Electronic networking can help support the 'third
sector'. Sheffield's Open Information
Project doesn't claim to be a community network, says Mike Powell.
Its aim is establish an electronic information network which will be
cheap, easy to use and of direct benefit to the work of “third
sector” - voluntary and social economy - organisations in Sheffield.