Arts Minister Alan Howarth announced this week that
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
will give £2.5 millon ($4 million) to help establish 47 new IT
learning centres in the poorer parts of Britain.
In setting up the centres the government hopes to ensure
that no one is left out of the advances in modern information
and communications technology (ICT). Every centre will have
state-of-the-art hardware and software, together with
fully trained personnel to help users.
“Everybody — young and old and from all backgrounds and parts of the
country — must have the opportunity to make the most of what new
technology has to offer, and today’s announcement, together with the
lottery funded library ICT schemes already announced by the
Government, will help make that ambition a reality,” said
The funding from the Gates Foundation follows talks between
the Foundation and Matthew Evans, chairman of the government’s
Library and Information Commission (LIC). The talks were held
after LIC received an offer of help from the foundation.
The 47 learning centres will form “The People’s Network,”
which is just one of several initiatives by the government
to promote information technology.
“The People’s Network is without doubt the best way to ensure that
the maximum amount of people have access to opportunities new
technology can provide, and this donation will play a major part in
bridging the gap between information rich and information poor,”