And so, the awards season begins!

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip up to the top of the BT Tower for the launch of Abiltynet’s Technology4Good awards – and the rain even cleared long enough so we could all appreciate the fantastic view over London! The venue was the perfect setting to celebrate these awards, the Oscars for those who improve lives through IT, and the fact that the awards are now entering their second year shows just how popular they’ve been, and how important it is to celebrate some of the great work being done in this area.

The launch of the awards took me back to one of the very first blogs I wrote last year, about a really inspiring project in Stockport that won the Community Impact Award. Anne Wallace had run a fish and chip shop in the area for years, and when the local precinct started to suffer the ill effects of the recession she decided to do something about it – in the way all good community leaders do. So, along with her daughter Nicola, she opened up a coffee shop to inject some life into the area, and began running computer classes which brought the older and younger generations together.

I meet Anne quite a lot at various events (I’m even off to visit the fish and chip shop tomorrow), and she never fails to inspire me.  And judging by the all the talk yesterday about the “fish and chip lady” – which I’m sure she won’t mind being referred to as- I’m not the only one to take inspiration from Anne. I’m delighted she won the award, and that the work she and Nicola are doing in their town is being talked about in such high places (excuse the pun!)

We’re sponsoring the Community Impact Award again year, and I’m hoping we’ll see lots more projects like Starting Point that demonstrate the real impact small projects can have on communities. Luckily, talking to Anne and Nicola has reassured me that the awards don’t just look nice on the mantelpiece (although they do look pretty cool!), but that winning the award for them has really opened doors with partners, both in their community and nationally.

We might be sponsoring the Community Impact Award, but there are lots of other categories which I’d really encourage you to apply for, whatever you’re doing to use technology to improve lives. I’m helping to judge the awards again, so please do make my job as hard as possible – I can’t wait to read again about all the great initiatives out there. May be the best one win!

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