Since its launch in 2002, the IT4Communities initiative, which is supported by Computer Weekly, has brought together more than 1,200 IT volunteers and over 300 charities and communities seeking help with their IT.
Several professional IT bodies are involved, including suppliers' organisation Intellect, the British Computer Society, Business in the Community, Citizens Online, and the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. With all this backing, IT4Communities is able to provide the infrastructure necessary to maximise the effectiveness of volunteers' efforts.
There are currently several hundred needy projects registered with IT4Communities across the UK. One example is a young persons' counselling service that needs a web designer to update and redevelop its site and teach charity workers how to maintain it.
Another example is a northern family support charity looking for a volunteer to help create a website, provide advice on hosting/visibility on search engines, and train staff so they can run the site themselves.
A charity that offers assistance to ex-offenders needs a volunteer to help it set up extranet access to internal services and advise on security issues surrounding this.
In addition to individual volunteers, IT4Communities is also seeking corporate involvement from organisations which may wish to benefit from the team bonding opportunities such charitable volunteering offers their IT workforce.
For more information on how you can use your IT skills to help your local community, contact Simon Davey, national director of IT4Communities
This was first published in January 2004