Bute artist Nicola up for Digital Hero award

Nicola Jones (third from left, in the snazzy shades and bright pink tutu), pictured with the crew from the Phoenix Centre on a visit to Radio Bute for World Peace Day in September, has been nominated for the Scotland's Digital Hero award for her work with the Rustle Way Arts and Media Studio, where 'Crew Phoenix' are regular visitors.

Nicola Jones (third from left, in the snazzy shades and bright pink tutu), pictured with the crew from the Phoenix Centre on a visit to Radio Bute for World Peace Day in September, has been nominated for the Scotland's Digital Hero award for her work with the Rustle Way Arts and Media Studio, where 'Crew Phoenix' are regular visitors.

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Bute artist Nicola Jones has been nominated for a top prize at the national Digital Heroes awards - but she needs your votes to have a chance of winning.

Nicola, who works with a variety of local projects including the Rustle Way Arts and Media Studio, the Phoenix Centre for adults with supported learning needs and Homeland Argyll and Bute, is one of three people being considered for the Scotland’s Digital Hero honour.

Nicola will go head-to-head with Sheila McPherson from Silver City Surfers in Aberdeen and Natalie Christison for the Scotland’s Digital Hero prize.

The winning candidate, as well as taking home the award, will also win a £5,000 technology grant to help further their cause.

Eleven Digital Heroes winners from across the UK will win £5,000 to put towards enhancing their digital project while one overall winner, determined by the expert judging panel, will receive a grand prize of £10,000.

All 12 winners also get free broadband from TalkTalk, which is running the competition along with Citizens Online, the UK’s leading digital participation charity, for 12 months.

Nicola, who combines her artistic skills with work as a part-time college tutor, founded the Rustle Way Arts and Media Studio on Bute in February 2012, to provide low cost and free digital media training.

Local groups and organisations use the Studio, on the corner of Russell Street and Mill Street, as a hub for their own digital media projects giving trainees access to work in film, photography, radio, animation, project management, planning and budgeting.

The studio works alongside Bute TV and Radio Bute, with which Nicola is also involved.

“Winning this award will be an enormous boost to all the volunteers who give their time and effort to the Studio, and will secure the continuation for our digital media training,” Nicola said.

“All communities are struggling but islands in particular are suffering and The Studio provides opportunities for the future across a broad range of creative industries. Vote for me now.”

TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding commented: “This year’s Digital Heroes Awards features some truly innovative projects, that are already using technology to improve their communities.

“It was hard to select just three finalists in each region, and I look forward to meeting the winners next month at the awards ceremony in London.”

John Fisher, the chief executive of Citizens Online, said: “More and more services and offerings are now becoming available only through online channels.

“The government’s Digital by Default programme will mean for example that claimants for the Universal Credit will need to become digitally literate and they include some of the hardest to reach and least confident non-adopters.

“For these people the work of our Digital Heroes is becoming increasingly important and they deserve our recognition, appreciation and support.”

Voting is open until Sunday, November 18 - to read the stories of the 35 finalists and to register your votes, just click on the link to the right of this article.