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Hi-tech help for Eltham families

posted Nov 3, 2010, 9:04 PM by Karen Cave   [ updated Feb 19, 2017, 3:22 PM ]

Co-ordinator pleased to be allocated grant

BY MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News

Last updated 05:00 14/07/2009

A hefty slice of a $3 million government grant to put computers in homes is coming to South Taranaki.

The Eltham-based Computers in Homes programme has been given $316,000 to give computers to 150 families.

Regional co-ordinator and tutor Christina Turner was surprised they were allocated so much as there were $11 million in applications for a $3 million grant pool. "We knew there were grants coming so we are not surprised that we got some, but we are surprised that we applied for funding for 150 families and we got funding for 150 families."

Computer-less families set to benefit from the grant will be chosen from within the South Taranaki District.

As well as the required hardware they will get 20 hours of computer tutorials and four to six months of internet access.

"After that the providers we work with, Watchdog and Slingshot, will give them subsidised access for 18 months," Mrs Turner said.

For Mary McKee getting a computer through the programme in 2006 was a new chapter in her life. Though scared of using it at first, she now regularly surfs the web to talk with her specialist in London on how to treat her bone cancer and multiple sclerosis.

"I also tutor new intakes," she said.

"I like to do that because that is something I am able to do.

"I cannot go to work and I like to help people and I like to meet new people and this programme has let me do it," she said.

Despite the grant Mrs Turner said the people they were able to help were just the tip of the iceberg.

There were an estimated 900 families in the district with school-aged children who did not have access to a computer and the internet in their home.