As one of the first Race Online 2012 partners, over the past year Microsoft has responded to the main recommendations in “A Manifesto for a Networked Nation”: raising awareness; supporting charities; providing IT training and cutting the cost of going online at home.
Last Christmas, Microsoft spearheaded an awareness campaign, “Gift the Web”, reaching 1.4m people with press and PR and attracting nearly half a million clicks to the site. The campaign included a microsite and an online advertising campaign involving MSN, Mobile and Xbox and has now been adopted as mass-partner initiative for Race Online 2012 in 2011.
Building on the partnerships behind “Gift the Web”, in May, Microsoft launched “GetOnline@Home” – a national scheme for people to get their first, affordable and internet-ready refurbished computer in their own home. The GetOnline@Home package, which includes a computer, software, warranty, helpline, VAT and delivery, is only £95 for charities or for those on benefits!
The website also offers jargon-busting advice about broadband deals and all computers come with an impressive range of pre-installed accessibility software.
By refurbishing donated machines, GetOnline@Home can provide computers below normal retail prices, while the easy-to-use software package will be familiar to many friends and family of new users, who may be able to offer a first line of technical support. Microsoft will continue to promote the charity offer to all Race Online 2012 partners that are eligible.
Over the last year, Microsoft has also donated software valued at just under £23 million, empowering over two and a half thousand UK charities to support their communities with up to date resources.
The charity technology exchange programme (CTXchange) distributes technology products donated by Microsoft and other partners to charities throughout the country, bringing real benefits to organisations like the South Lakes Society for the Blind (SLSB), which loans specially equipped laptops to those with sight problems in the local area. As Charles Ely, SLSB technology says, “a computer provides the means by which a blind person can communicate exactly as a fully-sighted person does”.
Through the “Britain Works” programme Microsoft has also helped over 215,000 people find work. By ensuring they have access to IT skills training, it aims to help 500,000 people into employment by the end of 2012. Microsoft is also planning to introduce 3000 apprenticeships, representing another important step towards the overall target.
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