IBM set up the On Demand Community programme some years ago, which provides money or IBM products to eligible community organisations and schools where IBM employees and retirees are actively volunteering (measured by recording hours in an online recording system), and in support of specific projects.
Four years ago, the 1st Chandler's Ford BB DofE Group applied for some funding for training, and received over £500. Training does not come cheap, with some Walking Group Leader courses running at around £400 per person, and the Assessment at a similar cost. Our First Aid courses are run by St. Johns Ambulance in Eastleigh, who help us by letting us donate a relatively small amount for a 2 day course. Leaders generally have to pay for this themselves, so it was good that, thanks to the contribution from IBM, the group could subsidise some of this training.
At the end of 2008 we applied for an IBM technology grant, and were very happy to be awarded a new X200 laptop. Using this, we will be able to maintain records of participants, leaders, training materials, and other resources needed to run the group - as well as using it for route planning using MemoryMap and helping young people access the DofE website if they need to get advice on completing their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections of the Award.
We run the Award by charging participants as little as possible in order to prevent young people from missing out on opportunities due to the cost. This means however, we are completely reliant on donations to "enhance" the group in ways that this donation from IBM has, and will do. The BB owns one laptop which we can borrow for route planning, but with 6 groups attempting to route plan using the same computer, it makes a big difference to have our own! So a public thanks again to IBM for this donation.