Community groups and voluntary organisations are to benefit from £4.5m of government money as part of its drive to get them up to speed with new technology, according to Home Secretary David Blunkett.

The money will allow 16 community groups working in deprived areas to invest in new IT equipment to support their work. Projects that stand to gain include online mentoring services for young people and IT support packages for social entrepreneurs.

"The government is taking the lead in working with voluntary and community organisations, boosting their ability to deliver services and engage communities in identifying and solving local problems", Blunkett said in his speech yesterday.

The organisations to benefit are: Age Concern Birmingham; Guide Association of Leicestershire and Rutland; Nottinghamshire Association of Voluntary Organisations; Leicester Housing Association; Knowsley CVS; Voluntary Sector North West; Langsett Foundation; Voluntary and Community Sector Learning Consortium; Norwich and Norfolk Voluntary Services; Southampton Voluntary Services; Young Bristol; Changemakers Foundation; REACH; Community Action Network; National Youth Agency and Youthnet.

The investment is part of the Home Office's Active Community Unit scheme, which aims to increase the contribution of local organisations in the delivery of public services to boost this sector overall. It has a budget of £188mn to spend over the next three years.