AN IT worker who uses his skills and contacts to help children learn about computers is one of the final nominations for a Community Pride awards.

Nominations for the 13 categories in the awards have now closed and shortlisted candidates will be announced soon, but Best Western employee Jason Angus's project to provide free laptops to primary school project has earnt him a nomination in the Community Project of the Year award.

Jason, 42, runs a scheme to take unwanted and disused laptops, recondition them, and give them to schools to be loaned to children who don't have access to computers at home.

The project had been a dream of his for around six years, but became a reality around 18 months ago when a York Cares volunteering day in a school gave him chance to talk to teachers about his idea.

Jason said: "I work in IT but a few years ago I took three years out to try other things. I worked in a day nursery for a time, and saw children coming from different schools for the after-school care.

"Some kids had nothing, but some had all the latest computers and iPads. It was bizarre and humbling to see the haves and the have-nots, and I realised some children were going to lose out."

Now his project works by taking unwanted laptops which are either donated or sold to Jason, who removes data and installs special programmes so children can only use applications specified by the school.

He currently works with three primary schools in York, and the laptops he had provided are used in schools, and loaned to children to use at home.

Jason added: "I want children to learn computers at their own pace, and not with their peers looking over their shoulders."

Children who don't have access to IT at home often lose out because they can't do homework properly, and can't learn how to use computers properly meaning that by the time they arrive at secondary school they are at a disadvantage, he added.

"I want everyone to have the same opportunities because you can't do any kind of job without computer use these days."