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Scheme closure has left 'big void'

Some 4,000 pupils have been helped by the Communication Aids Project, and for many it has meant the chance to remain in mainstream education.

The pound;20 million scheme was set up by the Department for Education and Skills in 2002 to support councils in providing technology and training for pupils with communication difficulties.

Councils are responsible for funding assistive technology but the end of the scheme in March has left some struggling.

John Liddle, from AbilityNet, a computing and disability charity, said:

"CAP supplemented schools and local authorities; it provided a cushion for them. A big void has been left and people are going to have to rattle the cage to make sure funding for assistive technology comes through."

AbilityNet and ACE Centres, another charity, have now set up Local CAPacity, a service that provides equipment loans, training, assessment and advice. East Sussex, West Sussex, Leicester City, Northumberland and Brighton and Hove councils have signed up to the scheme.

abilitynet.org.uk www.ace-centre.org.uk

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