Who can help with Community Internet?

by Peter Mason, <info@scip.org.uk>

There are some specialist organisations who can help those interested in the community use of IT along the the road to getting on-line. These organisations are usually run on a not-for-profit basis, and offer a range of services for the voluntary sector from free advice through to a full selection of Internet tools and services.

The advantage in using specialist organisations is that they are often able to offer more than a standard Internet account, supplementing it with interactive areas where subscribers can communicate with with others in the same field, or databases of useful voluntary sector information on-line.

Free web space

Although many Internet service providers now supply free web space to subscribers, the task of developing and then advertising your web site will be down to you. If you have a parent organisation, they may be able to help; otherwise, attaching yourself to the index of a local information site (such as a council or community group) or joining one of the national bodies for your type of work can help.


These following organisations provide advice and support particularly relevant to community and voluntary sector organisations.

Communication: Discussion Areas and Interest Groups

Some suppliers target themselves at even more narrow sector of the market. They provide bulletin boards, mailing lists and other discussion areas on the Internet and through other means, perhaps on a world-wide basis. Some examples:


Often there will be one or more organisations providing information or a gateways to other resources for topics of interest. You may be able to find this information elsewhere on the web using global search engines, but here someone has taken the work out of finding it organising it for you as an index, menus or a database of links. For example;


Along with technical support, some organisations may be able to offer training.

There are also online courses available. for a fuller list see the communities online web site.

How to choose your service provider

Choosing your supplier will depend on whether you require these additional services or whether cost is the overriding factor.
In the second case, it may be more appropriate to choose a private company. You can find a lists of UK Internet service providers at
InetUK (http://www.limitless.co.uk/inetuk/providers.html), the University of Liverpool (http://www.connect.org.uk/techwatch/providers/index.html) and Mecklermedia(http://thelist.iworld.com/country/United_Kingdom.html). You'll find more in Internet (and other) magazines and perhaps some advertised in your local area. Perhaps there's a local group that may help you.

Home | Communities | Networks | Partnerships | Toolkit | | Join in