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Source E-ACCESS BULLETIN.
- ISSUE 62, FEBRUARY 2005.

Technology news for people with vision impairment Sponsored by RNIB

A new partnership between two charities looks set to boost the levels of IT support and accessibility advice available to disabled computer users.

AbilityNet which provides advice, training and assessments of computer needs for disabled people, has joined forces with ITCH Network, a volunteer programme within the British Computer Society  to provide free IT support to disabled people across the UK.

The charities have created a single helpline for computer-related enquiries (
0800 269545) and are pooling their resources and expertise to offer a more comprehensive service to end users.

"While ITCH volunteers tend to help disabled people in their homes with everyday problems, such as installing and upgrading software, getting started on the internet and combating viruses, AbilityNet's consultants can provide individual assessments of computer needs and advice on assistive technologies," says Tom Mangan, vice-chairman of ITCH Network. "This means that when our volunteers recognise that a more complex solution to a client's computer access problems is required, they can refer to the client to AbilityNet."

AbiltyNet will also provide specialist training for ITCH Network volunteers to help them solve simple access problems. For example, ITCH volunteers could help a vision-impaired person adjust operating systems settings to aid magnification or help them with keystroke shortcuts for magnification software.

ITCH currently has some 250 volunteers in the UK and a significant proportion of its enquiries come from blind and vision-impaired users.
Demand for its services is currently growing at 25 per cent a year and so it views the link-up with AbilityNet as a way of boosting service coverage.

 

 

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