15 tech charities that need your help

Christmas isn’t just about presents and mince pies, but charity too. Here’s our top picks for tech-friendly non-profits that deserve your support.

"ICTs offer the opportunities for direct, interactive communication even by those who lack skills, who are illiterate, lack mobility and have little self-confidence," it says.

Practical Action takes direct donations but also sells cards and gifts to raise funds, and runs an Oxfam-style gift site, too.

Around the UK

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Child's Play

Gaming comic site Penny Arcade came up with this idea in 2003, after yet another journalist slammed video games for encouraging violence. Looking to prove their worth to the world, the gamers started Child's Play, a charity that helps get techie toys into children's hospitals.

Since it started with just one location in their hometown of Seattle, Child's Play has grown across the US, Canada and even the UK, with the addition of Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

Essentially a virtual toy drive, the associated hospitals post wishlists on Amazon of the games they'd like to be able to give to suffering kids. You can scroll through the list and pick your favourite game or simply pick from the hospital's priority list, with costs ranging from below 10 to the full price of a gaming console all worth the cash to put a smile on a young gamer's face.

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Click here for Alder Hey's wishlist.

AbilityNet

If you're looking for a charity that works a bit closer to home, there's AbilityNet. The UK-based organisation helps disabled people use computers and the internet to get back into the world.

One-off donations can be made here, with 25 covering tech support for a disabled person and 50 allowing them to attend a tech class.

The group also sells toys for disabled children, such as specially-equipped remote-controlled cards, and adapted controllers for the Sony PlayStation one of which uses head movements to play video games.

"For some people, when they acquire a disability it is imperative they learn how to use technology to help fill in the gaps in their lives their disability has created," says Pamela Hardaker, senior consultant for AbilityNet, on the group's website.

Another good choice for an IT-friendly disability charity is Leonard Cheshire Disabilty.

Bletchley Park

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It's been a rough year for Bletchley Park, home to the UK's wartime code-breaking efforts, as well as the Museum of Computing.

Desperate for 1 million in funds to repair buildings, the [a href="https://www.itpro.co.uk/202260/bletchley-park-site-needs-urgent-repairs" target="_blank"]centre nearly went under[/a] before a 330,000 grant from English Heritage took the heat off for a while.

Click here to read our feature on Bletchley Park's financial woes.

Located in Milton Keynes, you could simply take your tech-savvy loved one out for a day trip. The 10 entry fee is good for a whole year, so your beloved geek can visit again and again.

Alternatively, one-off donations can be made here, or visit Bletchley's shop here, where you can pick up limited edition prints of scenes from the centre's code breaking days as well as other gifts, including your very own copy of the Enigma machine.

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