At the fourth annual Tech4Good awards, eight volunteers, entrepreneurs, businesses and charitable organisations were honoured for their use of digital technology to improve lives and create a better society.
Sponsored by BT and charity AbilityNet, the event saw Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales handed the Judges’ Special Award in recognition of the not-for-profit website, while seven other organisations and individuals across a range of sectors were acknowledged for their contributions, after being picked from hundreds of entrants.
The BT Ingenious Award, specifically designed to recognise ideas with huge growth potential and inventive flair, was given to BuffaloGrid, an organisation that is transforming the lives of people in the remotest areas of the world by creating a sustainable way of charging their mobile phones.
BuffaloGrid provides solar charging units for free to local entrepreneurs, whose customers pay for the service using their mobile phones. This delivers reliable and affordable access to mobile phones for people living off-grid as well as a sustainable business opportunity.
2. Accessibility Award: Special Effect
Special Effect helps disabled people play video games using a range of modified and off-the-shelf hardware and software. It’s not just about having fun - it means they can participate in mainstream culture and can kick-start rehabilitation, self-esteem and inclusion.
3. Community Impact: WIMPS
WIMPS is an acronym for "Where Is My Public Servant?". Based in Northern Ireland WIMPS are young journalists, film makers, presenters and campaigners who hold politicians to account and show that young people’s opinions matter.
4. Digital Health: Peek Vision
PEEK uses smartphones to dramatically expand access to high quality eye care, replacing expensive and bulky equipment. It empowers health workers to diagnose eye diseases and simplifies treatment of patients anywhere in the world.
5. Digital Skills: UCanDoIT
UCanDoIT teaches people with disabilities how to use computers, with a particular focus on Internet and email skills. The organisation teaches learners in their own homes, on their own computers, and on a one-to-one basis.
6. IT Volunteer of the Year: Craig Oxley-Brookes
Craig is a volunteer with Age UK Trafford, which helps older people to get online.
7. Youth Award: Ryan McMurdo
Ryan is head of IT drop-in sessions for Starting Point, supporting over 1,000 learners to get online and, more importantly, stay online each year.