Press Release – Wellington City Council
Two computer hub initiatives that give free or affordable access to the internet, and computer training, for thousands of Wellingtonians have jointly won the 2012 NZ Open Source Award for social services.
Wellington City Council’s Housing Computer Hubs, and the Wellington Soup Hub, were named the joint winners at the open source software industry’s biennial awards in Wellington on Wednesday night.
The computer hubs at the Council’s Arlington and Newtown Park apartments are run on contract by Wellington ICT – a charitable trust. WICT works with local communities and non-profit organisations to get the best out of communications technology and the internet.
All of the Council’s 4000 tenants across the city have access to the hubs.
Mayor Celia Wade Brown congratulates Wellington ICT. “This is a real win for Wellington and a great partnership between the Council and Wellington ICT and the users of this service.”
The computer hubs use open-source technology (free software). They provide access to computers and training, with the aim of bridging the digital divide for many of the Council’s housing tenants.
WICT employs tenants to help run the hubs and many tenant volunteers also provide peer support.
The Council’s Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says the hubs, and the open source technology, are great ways to break down barriers for tenants.
“Not everyone owns their own personal computer or has the skills to use them well. Which must make life difficult – a lot of our day-to-day transactions and communications now take place online,” says Cr Cook.
“The hubs not only help our tenants learn skills, but they give them direct access to all the information and services they need – many of which only use the internet for the provision of information.
“I know the staff at City Housing work hard to foster social inclusion for our tenants. Enabling them to join and confidently navigate the virtual world is a crucial part of that work.”
WICT is also involved with the Soup Hub – an e-inclusion community telecentre at the Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre in Tory Street. Its mission is to help people develop digital literacy skills by providing access to computer technology, the internet and some help from friendly mentors.