It’s that time of year again – the internet is full of blogs celebrating the year that will soon be behind us, and for once I thought I’d follow the pack and do the same by rounding up some of my highlights of 2012 – of which there have been many.Being invited to America to talk about how we’re leading the way in improving digital skills in the UK was a real highlight, and as well as sharing my expertise, I learnt a lot and was inspired by some of the fantastic people I met along the way. I was also humbled when I was inducted into the BIMA Digital Hall of Fame, alongside Stephen Fry, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Martha Lane Fox. Thank you again to all who voted for me – it really was a huge achievement, one I’ve already made some great contacts through, and one I will continue to talk about for some time. Online Centres Foundation as an organisation has also achieved significant things over the past twelve months. We appointed our fantastic board, held our first national conference and ran some brilliant campaigns – including Get online week. We hit a huge milestone as well – having supported one million people to use computers and the internet since April 2010. And we’ve worked with so many fantastic people this year, so thanks to all of the partners who have had a huge role to play, to our fantastic network of local centres and everyone else who has given us so much support in 2012 – it wouldn’t have been possible without you! And while 2012 has been a fantastic year, I’m pretty confident that there is far more to come and I can’t wait for everything 2013 has to offer – watch this space for more news. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
On Saturday, I had a good reason to celebrate – Online Centres Foundation turned one! While the journey to becoming a mutual seemed like a long one, the last year has flown by with new priorities, new projects and a great enthusiasm from everyone we work with.
Becoming a mutual was a huge achievement, but we’ve achieved so much more than we could ever have imagined in the last year – running a fantastic conference just last week, in July hitting our target of supporting one million people to use computers and the internet, launching the new Community How To service and continuing to support our fantastic network of centres to bring the power of the internet to as many people as possible. I remember vividly being sat at home at the dining table one evening last December, having to sign off our own payroll for the first time ever, and it really feeling like a proper start-up business. I can’t believe how far we’ve come!One of the best things about being a mutual is just how invested every person within the organisation is in helping us achieve our aims – everyone can have their say and shape the services we deliver, which means everyone feels like they have a really important part to play in driving the organisation forward. Of course I would say this, but OCF really is a great place to work – and it’s the team that we’ve really got to thank for it. As a new social enterprise we’ve now got a Board too – with four staff members and six external members who provide us with advice, challenge and support. So thank you also to Jim Knight, our fantastic Chair, and to Gail, Liz, Nick, Pete, Roger, Simon, Vic and William our equally fab Board Directors. The future is full of new opportunities, and I’m looking forward to all of the challenges ahead of us. Thanks to all of you who have supported us over the past year – and here’s to many more!