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Oz Net center full of beans and teens

A national initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide for young people has kicked off with the launch of the country's first Beanbag Net Centre in Sydney's outer west.

A national initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide for young people has kicked off with the launch of the country's first Beanbag Net Center in Sydney's outer west.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--The project is the brainchild of the Inspire Foundation and is partnered by Microsoft's eMpower Australia Campaign and Coca-Cola's Within Arms Reach Program.

It aims to provide young people living in disadvantaged areas with free Internet access, tailored IT and Internet training and the chance for participants to contribute their own content to a local Web site www.beanbag.net.au.

The Beanbag Net Centre at Traxside Youth Health Service in Campbelltown is the first of 10 locations to be rolled out across Australia's capital cities over a two-year period.

"We are very excited to be a part of the Beanbag Net Centers Project," said Anthony Stralow, counsellor and health education officer for Traxside Youth Health Service.

"It means that young people who come to Traxside will now have an opportunity to benefit from the information and resources available on the Internet and learn valuable IT skills that may otherwise not be available to them."

The Inspire Foundation said today it was "thrilled" with public response to its first Beanbag Net Centre.

"At a time when much attention is given to the digital divide, we believe it’s vital that we focus our energy on the solution rather than the problem," Inspire Foundation executive director, Jack Heath, said.

"For us, this is about building digital bridges to those less well off in our community and inspiring others to do the same."

Marrickville Youth Resource Centre will be home to Sydney’s second Beanbag Net Centre, in June 2001.