North East schools encouraged to help people get online for Christmas

BT is appealing to schools across the North East to help people in their local communities get online in time for Christmas. 

For the second year running BT has teamed up with children’s charity, The Transformation Trust, to run BT Digital Champions, a free initiative for schools which enables students to share their internet skills and help people get online for the first time or improve their existing skills. 

During the first year of the programme 115 North East students gave at least one hour of their time to help someone in their local community get online. Students shared a variety of online skills often taken for granted, such as using the internet to search for information, sending and accessing emails and utilising social networking sites. 

This year BT Digital Champions aims to help 20,000 people in the UK improve their online skills. Students across the North East and beyond will be competing to get the most people online. 

As a reward for completing BT Digital Champions activity, schools will receive free tickets for Rock Assembly 2014, which takes place at Wembley Arena on July 9 2014. As an extra incentive, The BT Digital Champions Christmas Challenge will reward the top three schools that help the most people to get online this term with some amazing prizes, including all-in-one computers and VIP seats at Rock Assembly. The highest performing student will get the chance to meet some of the celebrity music acts at the concert. 

More than 7 million UK adults have never been online. BT Digital Champions, which is part of BT’s Connected Society programme, aims to build the confidence and skills of individuals to get online and get more out of life whether they are trying simple activities, such as keeping in touch with family, or using the internet to make major changes to their lives, such as finding a new job. 

Farooq Hakim, BT’s North East regional director, said: “This a free initiative which not only provides huge benefit to our local communities but also gives students the opportunity to win fantastic prizes for themselves and their school simply by sharing their knowledge with others and volunteering their time and skills to help someone get online. 

“I hope that more North East schools sign up and take advantage of BT Digital Champions and I look forward to seeing some familiar names at the top of the Christmas challenge leader board.” 
Students who took part in the first year of BT Digital Champions reported that, as well as helping their local community, they benefitted personally from getting involved. 

Around 78 per cent of students said they felt more confident, 81 per cent said they had learnt something new, 86 per cent felt they had achieved something worthwhile and 88 per cent felt more motivated to do better at school after taking part. 

All students taking part receive a certificate and wristband in recognition of their volunteering efforts. 

Amy Leonard, chief executive of The Transformation Trust, said: "Our mission is to help students to become their ‘best selves’ and BT Digital Champions presents a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills and experience for the workplace whilst helping others. 

“We will be rewarding schools with some brilliant Christmas prizes, and of course, are looking forward to celebrating with everyone at The Transformation Trust’s end of term concert, Rock Assembly 2014.” 

Students can spend their own time training a family member or friend as homework or schools can organise group training sessions with full resources and support provided. Teachers are invited to register for the programme at www.btdigitalchampions.com or call 0207 993 3516. 

For further information about this news release please contact the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre 

About BT Digital Champions 
• The programme offers an excellent opportunity for young people to use their digital experience to help others. It also offers benefits to schools, linking to the Ofsted framework, with an emphasis on SMSC (spiritual, moral, social, cultural), RWCM (reading, writing, communication, maths), and preparing young people for future education, employment or training. 
• The initiative helps instil civic responsibility in young people and build community links. It is an ideal volunteering activity for courses such as the International Baccalaureate. 
• The programme is flexible and schools can decide how and when to run the training sessions. Students can spend their own time training a family member or friend as a homework activity, or schools can organise group training sessions. 
• As a reward for completing BT Digital Champions activity, the Transformation Trust is offering free tickets for the most glamorous end-of-term pop concert, Rock Assembly 2014 which takes place at Wembley Arena, on 9 July 2014. The event also features a Futures Fair including a university and careers village to inspire young people and showcase educational and career opportunities. Past acts include Wretch 32, Misha B, Tinchy Stryder, Diversity, The Saturdays and The Wanted, and a waiting list in the thousands. Tickets are awarded on a first come, first served basis. 
About The Transformation Trust 
The Transformation Trust is an independent children’s charity that funds extra-curricular activities in schools in some of the most challenged parts of the country. 
Since our launch in May 2009, we have supported a range of opportunities and experiences designed to help young people to fulfil their potential. Our mission is to ensure the enriching activities, which many children are fortunate enough to enjoy thanks to their background and the schools they attend, are within the reach of all young people. We aim to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds develop new skills, grow in confidence, learn to work as a team, and discover hidden talents and interests. The activities are genuinely fun – the sorts of things young people want to stay behind after school to take part in – but they also help equip them with core skills, such as numeracy, communication and technological fluency, which are valued in the workplace and will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 
Funded entirely through the support of the private sector, The Transformation Trust works with high-quality third sector organisations whose programmes can make a difference to the lives – and futures – of young people who need that extra help. For more information please visit www.transformationtrust.org.uk 

About BT’s Better Future programme 
Better Future is BT’s commitment to use the power of communication to improve lives and ways of doing business – without it costing the earth. Better Future embeds responsible and sustainable business practice to build real growth and is rooted in what BT does best – bringing together our networks and technology with the expertise of our people to make a better world. Our Better Future programme focuses on three areas, connecting people digitally (‘Connected Society’), using our skills and technology to help society support good causes (‘Improving Lives’), and ensuring BT makes a net positive contribution to the environment (‘Net Good’). Being a responsible and sustainable business leader is one of BT’s six strategic priorities for growth. For further information, visit www.bt.com/betterfuture. 

About BT 
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach. 

For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m. 

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 

For more information, visit www.btplc.com