By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Nokia Australia today announced a $300,000 initiative in partnership with the Salvation Army to bring technology to disadvantaged kids on the streets of Sydney and the NSW Central Coast.

The mobile phone maker has signed a three-year sponsorship deal for the Salvation Army Oasis Youth Support Network’s StreetConnect bus, which is filled with technology products including laptops, mobile phones, wireless internet access, solar panels and a generator.

Staffed by volunteers, the bus travels to Sydney and Central Coast hotspots seven nights a week with the aim of helping cut through the digital divide which is increasingly isolating young disadvantaged people from society.

The revamped and modernised bus hit the streets at the weekend. According to Nokia, the bus can reach up to 300 people per night and gives them access to services, advice and practical support.

“The Nokia StreetConnect bus brings help, hope and new services to our most at risk and disadvantaged young people by providing access to technology and volunteers to help with computer access and services. We are meeting them them at their point of need on the streets,” said Oasis Youth Support Network director, Paul Moulds.

“We’re delighted to work with Oasis on this initiative which helps to support young people and create opportunities for them to succeed in life,” said Nokia Australia general manager, Shaun Colligan.

“For Nokia, it has always been a core value for us to contribute in a positive way to the community. The Nokia StreetConnect Technology Bus is a way for us to realise our vision of the importance of connecting people.”