AOL and Citizens Online have announced the winners of the 2005 AOL Innovation in the Community Awards. Unfortunately it is difficult to find out just what they and previous winners are actually doing. The press release says:
Innovative use of the Internet has secured AOL Innovation in the Community Awards of £2,000 for 30 forward-thinking charities and community groups across the UK. The winning projects demonstrate the positive impact the Web can have in areas such as: protecting the environment; developing new writing talent; the representation of ethnic minorities; encouraging young volunteers.
There are what appear to be some very interesting projects listed, and as the release says:
Many of this year’s 30 award recipients are planning to launch schemes providing peer support, with several using audio and webcam initiatives to enable people to share experiences and get support online.
But ... I was surprised that the release didn't give any links to winners' sites. More careful reading showed most are in the planning stage. That's fine, except it makes the line about "The winning projects demonstrate the positive impact the Web can have ... " a little premature.
I then checked in to the AOL site about the awards, and found links to lists of previous winners ... but those for 2003 and 2004 didn't have winners' sites individually linked either. Have they all ticked the 'not much publicity box'? There are glowing testimonials for the impact of the awards, but it would be interesting to see for ourselves. It would also help to show - as the awards intend - how far the Net is becoming part of the day-to-day life of small groups doing great work in their communities. After all, this isn't just about making AOL look good, is it?
Update: AOL promises to publish case studies