TUCKED away at the end of Spring Street the Bowen Community Technology Centre is steadily improving its resources and the opportunities it provides for neighbourhood users.
It is one of the true success stories of community development in Orange because it is run by members of the community for the community.
A state government grant has funded a modest extension but donations of equipment by Cadia Valley Operations and the Rural Assistance Authority have made the money go much further.
The centre will almost quadruple the number of computers it provides for primary and secondary children to do homework and just enjoy access to technology many students take for granted.
The centre also provides access to technology for adults who do not have computers at home.
Despite government commitments to ensure all students get access to computers at school there remains a yawning gap in access to digital technology for our school students which is even more pronounced when they go home.
Many households in Orange have several computers and tablets with WiFi links to the internet, while others simply have none.
This digital divide, which will become more pronounced as the national broadband network rolls out, will isolate and disadvantage students whose only access to the internet is during school hours.
In many ways community technology centres are the digital equivalent of the community library. For households that do not have computer and internet access at home, they are the best way to share the technology which is essential if students are to keep pace with changes in the classroom and the wider world.
And like a community library the Bowen Community Technology Centre also offers an environment where there is some level of supervision and encouragement for students after school.
It represents government funding well spent and corporate support well deserved.