Member of the Week - AbilityNet
AbilityNet has approximately 68 staff with our main offices in London, Reading and Leamington Spa together with 11 DSA centres across the country from Newcastle to Brighton. In February 2018 Alan Brooks became Chairman in April of the same year Gary Moore became the Charity’s CEO. In 2011 Martha Lane Fox (Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, co-founder of last minute.com and government UK Digital Champion) became our patron. We continue to deliver assessments to the disabled whether they are in work, home or school/college. We also work with organisations across the private, public and third sectors helping them design, build and deliver accessible on-line systems, services and products. These two services complement each other ensuring individuals can use and get the best from their technology and use/access the systems and online services. We have over 300 IT volunteers providing free services disabled individuals across the UK through the IT Can Help programme where skilled IT people provide IT support, training and help for disabled and elderly people in their homes across the UK. This is complemented by our wide range of expert resources (i.e. fact sheets and MyComputerMyWay) and our Freephone advice and information call line which is open and available to anyone seeking help with accessible technology challenges. Read about the history of AbilityNet here.
Chris Grant is Community Relationship Officer, AbilityNet. His relationship with AbilityNet began as a volunteer helping older and disabled people make the most of their tech.
He was awarded Volunteer of the Year at the Tech4Good Awards 2019. This year Chris was offered the permanent role of Community Relationship officer. The role involves raising the profile of AbilityNet within local communities, inspiring our volunteers and raising funds to support our work.
AbilityNet is keen to raise awareness of how we can support people during the second lockdown period. With people being forced apart physically, technology has a vital role to play in terms of enabling families and friends to keep in touch. It is also critical in terms of accessing essential services such as online shopping.
Support from AbilityNet is rounded up in this recent blog post.
With the festive season approaching, it’s possible people who haven’t shopped online before will be doing so for the first time. We are keen to keep people safe and are running a FREE webinar to tell people how to avoid online scams as part of our AbilityNet Live series of webinars.
During lockdown we have launched AbilityNet Live (www.abilitynet.org.uk/live). We are also offering a remote service to help people to make reasonable workplace adjustments in their home.
We have ambitious plans for the next 12-months continuing to increase the number of people we are reaching through our services We will run four quarterly webinars to raise awareness including one looking at the impact of ageing in terms of acquired disability, and enabling people to continue to work in later life. We will be pushing our accessibility services into new markets. The benefits of this are twofold. Firstly, it helps us to create a digital world accessible to all by empowering others to build accessible digital products. Secondly, it raises funds to sustain our charitable objectives. We will also continue to look for fundraising sources through grants nationally as well as on a regional basis.
This year we have achieved Disability Confident Leader status. This new status puts us in the top tier of the Disability Confident government lead scheme, amongst organisations such as Barclays, BT, the Cabinet Office, Fujitsu, Heathrow, John Lewis Partnership, Lloyds Banking Group and many other household names.
What we value most about our Inverness Chamber membership is the opportunity to speak directly to local business and to promote CSR opportunities including volunteering for us. Our ‘top tip’ for other Chamber members to maximise their Chamber membership would be: Network, network, network.