Last year IT professionals gave hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash and time to help charitable causes, and in this, our 40th anniversary year, Computer Weekly will be supporting a range of events to help even more people do their bit.
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The hub for many charitable activities in the IT sector is the livery company for IT, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), which aims to maximise the impact and effectiveness of each pound raised. The WCIT has a charitable trust fund which helps new activities get off the ground and then helps to spread their benefits.
One example of this is the Lifelites scheme, which identified the the need for a special communication system for seriously ill children in hospices. The WCIT arranged for IT professionals to build a pilot in one hospice and then organised the installation of the system into more than 30 children's hospices in the UK.
ICTIndustry Charity Ball
There are many opportunities for IT professionals to take part in different types of charitable activities. The grandest charity event of the year is the annual Intellect ICT Charity Ball, supported by Computer Weekly and the WCIT, which last year raised £70,000 for the Starlight Foundation. This year's event, themed "A Night in Atlantis", takes place on 27 June, and several hundred people are expected at the dinner, dance and fundraising auction.
WCIT Charity Walk
For those with families, the WCIT Charity Walk, which takes place on Sunday 17 September, offers a family-oriented charity event for IT professionals. It is based at the Honourable Artillery Company's grounds in the heart of the City of London and comprises a series of walks visiting parts of London that are normally closed to the public. Last year the event raised £25,000 for Barnado's.
This year both the industry ball and charity walk have set their sights on raising considerably more, and during 2006 Computer Weekly will be encouraging readers to take part.
In a more challenging event, a hardy group of about 250 IT industry leaders will take part in Byte Night on 29 September. This is a sponsored overnight sleep-out in central London to raise money for charity NCH's work with homeless children. Last year Computer Weekly's managing editor was among the sleepers, who collectively raised £230,000.
Vanco Adventure Challenge
In the Vanco Adventure Challenge, groups of IT professionals spend a gruelling weekend in July raising money from their sponsors the hard way - by climbing the three highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland within 24 hours. Last year the challenge raised £130,000 for global aid organisation Care International.
For those who prefer to use their technology expertise to help others, the IT4Communities scheme provides a structured framework for IT professionals who want to help local charities or community projects.
The programme brings volunteers and charities together and offers advice and guidance. IT4Communities is backed by the British Computer Society, Citizens Online, Business in the Community and the WCIT, as well as Computer Weekly.
Since it started in November 2002, more than 3,000 IT professionals have registered. To date they have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of their time to charitable projects.