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National charity AbilityNet, the leading provider of expertise on computing and disability, today announced that it is to open a regional centre in London. The new centre will be based at one of BT's key operational buildings - the Angel Centre in Islington, and will be funded over the next three years by BT.

The facility will be the eighth AbilityNet centre in a growing network run with the help of partners in public, private and voluntary sectors. Other AbilityNet centres are already in operation in Liverpool at the Glaxo Neurological Centre, in Reading on the Microsoft Campus, in York at the College of Ripon and York, on the Agilent Technologies site in Edinburgh, at IBM in Warwick, and at West Byfleet and Malvern.

The new AbilityNet London @ BT centre, will expand the availability in the capital of the range of services that AbilityNet offers nationally. These are: assessing the needs of individual disabled people to identify the best solution for their computing requirements, free information and advice, the supply of computer equipment fully adapted for use by people with disabilities, training, technical support, awareness education for professionals and employers and consultancy for employers.

"AbilityNet helps individuals with disabilities of all types to use a computer, at work, in education or at home. This new AbilityNet London @ BT centre represents further corporate recognition of the growth in demand for this type of expertise. We are delighted that BT, with its great record in supporting people with disabilities, is providing the sponsorship and accommodation for the new site. I believe this will enhance the opportunities that IT offers to disabled people for personal freedom and involvement, and the increased productivity and retention of skills that can result," said Nuala Davis, manager of the new centre.

"BT is committed to equal opportunities for all. We want to be at the heart of a world where the norm is one in which access to communications enriches lives, enhances economies and enables life long learning. We totally support the work that AbilityNet is doing to bring the benefits of IT to people with disabilities," said John Steele, BT Group Personnel Director. "The Centre will provide an essential new resource in London through this innovative corporate/voluntary sector partnership. BT has itself been a user of AbilityNet services nationally for several years and is delighted to play a key role in realising AbilityNet’s goal of establishing a presence in London."

For photographs of AbilityNet London @ BT’s centre manager, Nuala Davis, please contact the AbilityNet press office: 01926 429595

Notes to Editors

AbilityNet is a charity that brings the benefits of computer technology to adults and children with all types of disabilities. Through a number of centres around the country it offers a comprehensive range of services to disabled people, professionals, employers and statutory bodies. It provides free information and advice on any aspect of the use of a computer by someone with a disability, individual assessment of technology needs, adapted computer equipment with full training and technical support, a programme of awareness education, and consultancy for employers on system and workstation adaptations.

In 1999 AbilityNet’s staff handled over 16,000 telephone enquiries, saw 1,600 disabled adults and children for individual assessments, training and technical support visits, addressed more than 3,000 attendees on technology awareness sessions, and supplied 650 people with equipment tailored to their personal needs. Each of these services grew between 10% and 35% last year.

AbilityNet is dependent both nationally and locally on grants and donations from charitable trusts and companies, to carry out its work on behalf of disabled people and those who support them.

For further details check

or call AbilityNet’s freephone helpline on: 0800 269545

Issued by:

Caroline Saint Freedman, AbilityNet press office.

Tel: 01926 429595 Fax: 01926 332563


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