ISP AOL today launched its Innovation in the Community Awards to help community groups make the most of the internet.

National charity Citizens Online will be partnering with AOL to offer a total of 15 awards of £2,000 plus a one-year subscription to AOL's email services worth £164.89.

The aim of the awards is to bring the benefits of the internet to local communities that are currently not in a position to make the most of being online by providing them with the vital finances.

"The internet is a fantastic resource for local community groups, for communication, research and providing information about the group itself via its own website. But cost prevents many groups from getting online for the first time or improving existing facilities," said John Fisher, chief executive at Citizens Online.

A representative from each group should fill in the online application form by 6 June, explaining how they would spend the money and the impact it would have on their local community.

"As long as the project is non-commercial and involves the internet in some way, we would encourage community groups to apply for an award," said Karen Thomson, CEO of AOL UK.

The winners, who will be notified by post on or around 18 July, will be eligible for one further discretionary £5,000 award, which will be announced in March next year.