Plymouth woman in line for Digital Heroes award
A PLYMOUTH woman is in line to win a £10,000 grant for using social media to create a scheme which helps people with depression.
Jayne Hardy is one of three people in the South West shortlisted for the TalkTalk Digital Heroes awards.
36 people across the country will now go head to head to win £5,000 technology grants to help further their cause. An overall winner will take £10,000.
Winners will be selected via online votes cast at TalkTalk.
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After calling for entries over the last eight weeks, TalkTalk has shortlisted the three most deserving candidates from each of the UK’s 12 main regions.
The individuals with the most votes from each of the twelve regions will be honoured at a ceremony at the House of Lords judged by a panel that includes UK Digital Champion and dotcom entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.
Eleven of the Digital Heroes winners will win £5,000 to put towards enhancing their digital project while one overall winner, determined by the expert judging panel, will receive a grand prize of £10,000.
All 12 winners also get free broadband from TalkTalk for 18 months.
Jayne Hardy works at the Blurt Foundation, which has two aims: to tackle the stigma surrounding depression, and to make sufferers realise that they are not alone.
Through the website www.blurtitout.org) and Twitter (@BlurtAlerts), Blurt provides people who are feeling isolated with an online mentor.
Each mentor has experienced depression and, while they cannot give advice, they listen and support mentees so that they can recognise that there is always hope.
As soon as the website launched in the summer, the foundation had to enlist the help of voluntary mentors to deal with hundreds of emails.
The grant would help provide training to mentors so that Blurt can help even more, go into schools, as well as making further improvements to the website.
The other nominees seeking votes in the South West are Andy Weeds (Open Blue Trust), Calne, Wiltshire, and Chris Dredger (Storybook Dads) from Bideford, North Devon.
Martha Lane Fox said: “As the Digital Heroes Awards have shown over the past few years, technology and the internet can change lives. These awards are all about recognising those individuals who have gone the extra mile for their community and who have improved the lives of people in their community using the internet.
“No matter how small the project, the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards aim to celebrate and reward people for making technology more accessible and useful for the people around them. In my capacity as UK Digital Champion I am delighted to offer my ongoing support for this initiative.”
Tristia Clarke from TalkTalk commented: “Each year we’ve seen more and more nominees come in for the Digital Heroes Awards. As a result, it’s been harder to choose just three finalists for each region, but this year’s finalists are particularly deserving. Now it’s down to the public to decide who wins.”
John Fisher, Chief Executive, Citizens Online, said: “The internet can be an intimidating place if you lack confidence or experience. However, sometimes all it takes is a little guidance – whether it be providing the facilities or expertise – and the work carried out by Digital Heroes across the nation is helping large sections of society online and, ultimately, improving their quality of life.”
By providing access to this technology, or by teaching the skills so that people can do it themselves, the nation’s Digital Heroes are helping to make a difference to the UK.
To browse the finalists and register your votes, please visit TalkTalk. Voting will be open until Sunday, November 13. Votes can be cast for any region, not just your own.