Chris Dredger Nominated for Talk Talk Digital Hero 2011 Awards for the South West

Voting is Open for South West's Digital Heroes

Devon, United Kingdom, October 15, 2011 --( · Chris Dredger from Bideford up against two other regional finalists to be named South West’s Digital Hero

· £5,000 award for a charity from the South West at House of Lords ceremony

· 12 UK charities to benefit from £65,000 technology grants from TalkTalk

TalkTalk’s search for the nation’s Digital Heroes has discovered three worthy local candidates, who will now go head to head to win a £5,000 technology grant to help further their cause. And from today people in Devon are being urged to vote for their favourite local Digital Hero at

The TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards in conjunction with Citizens Online is the only award of its kind to celebrate outstanding people who are using digital technology to bring about positive social change.

After calling for entries over the last eight weeks, TalkTalk has shortlisted the three most deserving candidates from each of the UK’s twelve main regions and are opening up the final vote online to the public. The individuals with the most votes from each of the twelve regions will be honoured at a ceremony at the House of Lords judged by a panel that includes UK Digital Champion and dotcom entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.

Eleven of the Digital Heroes winners will win £5,000 to put towards enhancing their digital project while one overall winner, determined by the expert judging panel, will receive a grand prize of £10,000. A special Race Online 2012 prize will also be awarded by Martha Lane Fox. All 12 winners also get free broadband from TalkTalk for 18 months.

Chris Dredger is from Storybook Dads, which helps maintain the vital emotional bond between prisoners and their children by helping offenders to record bedtime stories for their kids on CDs and DVDs. The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software.

The editing process means that poor readers – and even non-readers – can still participate. A mentor simply reads each line for them to repeat and then the mentor’s voice is edited out. Storybook Mums also runs in women’s prisons.

The grant will help buy new video equipment to roll out the project in other prisons, as well as extending it to the Armed Forces.

The other nominees seeking votes in the South West are Jayne Hardy (the Blurt Foundation), Plymouth and Andy Weeks (Open Blue Trust) from Calne, Wiltshire.

UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox said: “As the Digital Heroes Awards have shown over the past few years, technology and the internet can change lives. These awards are all about recognising those individuals who have gone the extra mile to improve the lives of people in their community by showing them the many benefits of the web.

“No matter how small the project, the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards aim to celebrate and reward these digital champions for making technology more accessible and useful for the people around them. In my capacity as UK Digital Champion I am delighted to offer my on-going support for this initiative.”

Tristia Clarke from TalkTalk commented: “Each year we’ve seen more and more nominees come in for the Digital Heroes Awards. As a result, it’s been harder to choose just three finalists for each region, but this year’s finalists are particularly deserving. Now it’s down to the public to decide who wins.”

John Fisher, Chief Executive, Citizens Online, said: “The internet can be an intimidating place if you lack confidence or experience. However, sometimes all it takes is a little guidance – whether it be providing the facilities or expertise – and the work carried out by Digital Heroes across the nation is helping large sections of society online and, ultimately, improving their quality of life.”

By providing access to this technology, or by teaching the skills so that people can do it themselves, the nation’s Digital Heroes are helping to make a real difference to the UK.

Storybook Dads
Chris Dredger