Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 08:28 UK

Community network sites honoured

traffic jam, PA
Catalyst winner Liftshare helps people share journeys

A social networking site for young gypsy travellers has won an award for the social use of technology.

The SavvyChavvy site was one of eight projects honoured in the UK's Catalyst Awards that recognise technology used to serve communities.

The site helps younger travellers stay in touch and post blogs and videos about their experiences.

Also honoured in the awards were a virtual nightclub for disabled people and a scheme to help people share cars.

Social action

The Catalyst Awards were set up to champion those using social media, such as the web, to keep communities together and tackle social challenges such as gang culture and poverty.

For its work helping young gypsy travellers communicate SavvyChavvy won the Community award. Chavvy is an old Romany word for "youth".

The site, which is closed to those who are not travellers, is credited with helping to gypsys change the way their community is seen.

CATALYST WINNERS
Community Award - SavvyChavvy
David and Goliath Award - Liftshare
Chalk and Cheese Award - FreqOUT!
Enterprise Award - Slivers of Time
Revolutionary Award - Wheelies
Self-Help Award - School of Everything
Individual Hero - Helen Anderson
People's Choice Award - Freeconomy Community

Wheelies - a virtual nightclub hosted in Second Life - got the Revolutionary award. The David and Goliath award went to Liftshare - an online system that helps people with spare car seats find passengers.

Helen Anderson won an award for her work to bring broadband to South Witham in Lincolnshire. Ms Anderson was driven to get the project going after her community was ignored by large net suppliers.

The winners of the awards were presented with their trophies by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He said the projects had huge potential to influence lives and communities.

"The worst of Britain can always be challenged by the best of Britain," he said.

The Community Awards for Social Technology (Catalyst) were sponsored by the Council on Social Action, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta) and the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

Helping to judge entries were the Make Your Mark campaign group; Unltd, which backs social entrepreneurs and Polecat which helps organisations measure their social impact.


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