Looking back: A year of great people, new products, and good performance

We’ve been doing a lot of talking about the future recently – especially with the launch of the our new name and our new strategy. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and reflect on what we’ve achieved – which is great timing as today we launch our brand new annual review, and there are certainly lots of things in it that we can be really proud of.

The review covers all of our top achievement for 2012 – 2013, starting off at what seems like a very long time ago in April 2012 as we launched our specialist network, and the Community Hub programme. We achieved some really fantastic things during the year, in July 2012 reaching a momentous milestone of one million learners supported since April 2010, which we celebrated with a great event at Facebook HQ. With great support from Nominet Trust we launched the Community How To website, which has grown to become a key area of work for us, supporting thousands of people working in community organisations to do more with digital technology. We held our first national conference – Digital evolution, local action – and ran the hugely successful eReading Rooms pilot … amongst many other things.

We have a tendency to hurtle from year to year – and from one project to the next – so it’s really nice to sit down and take time to look back on what we and all of our partners have achieved. And most importantly the things that stick in my mind from any year are the people who have got off their bums and made a massive difference to their lives by embracing technology –  you can read about them, and see how their lives have been changed in this annual review too.

Thank you to the many, many people who have supported us on the great journey we’ve been on over the past year – we’re already looking forward to many great times ahead!


A bright future for Tinder Foundation

The sun is shining, the world is full of amazing talented and committed people, and I am very positive about the future. I had a fantastic afternoon today meeting centre managers, learners, community leaders and some of our great partners at what was a very special day for us – the launch of our three year strategy, and the reveal of our new name – Tinder Foundation.

Our new strategy is an ambitious one. Last week I heard Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley give a speech about her journey as a woman working in the technology sector and her inspiring philanthropy to grow the Technology For Good movement. Dame Steve said: “Technology does not drive change, it enables change.” And I was reminded of this today when talking about the impact we’re having, helping people to help others to use technology to make a positive change to their lives.

The four elements of our strategy starts, with a passion to continue to evolve and improve our digital inclusion work, together with our 5000+ hyper-local partners, and with a vision that everyone in the UK can benefit from what digital technology offers. The UK online centres network is absolutely vital to us and meeting some inspiring centre representatives today reminded me again of the important work that is happening daily in local communities.

Having started out helping people to learn digital skills we will extend that to learning other things, be it English and Maths, or baking and gardening. This is new work for us, building on our findings from the eReading Rooms pilot (our final report is published today – here). For those people who don’t think learning is for them, we will help them to find out what interests them, and access that learning on the internet. We will work with thousands of local partners who will offer a friendly guide, on hand and an informal and local place in which to learn. We want to inspire people to not just learn about digital but to use digital to open up their interests and passions and to learn everything and anything via the web.

Why stop with individuals? Our third strand is to extend our community impact work, building on what we’ve achieved with our Community Hubs, and the Community How To website, to support organisations to benefit from digital technology relevant to what they do locally. So that they can do more and achieve more, and more quickly.

And lastly (but not least) we will work with government, and other organisations such as social housing providers, to help them to design digital strategies. Helping citizens and customers to use these fantastic services, which ties neatly into our digital inclusion work as well!

We will always be open in what we do and how we do it, and seek out partners so that together we can achieve much more than we could do alone.

To match this ambitious new strategy, we felt we needed a new name that would reflect our exciting future. And so from today, Online Centres Foundation has regenerated, just like Dr Who, into Tinder Foundation. The new name was a result of a vote by the Members of our Mutual. The name reflects how we help to spark activity at a local level, which then grows to something far greater than we could achieve on our own. Don’t worry about the product/service names that you love – UK online centres, Community How To, and Learn my way – they remain and we intend to nurture and evolve each one.

As Tinder Foundation we can now grow, diversify and become a sustainable organisation. We will always keep to our core aim – to make good things happen with digital technology.

So with our new name, and our new strategy, and lots of partners wanting to help, the future really does look bright!

If you’re eager to know more about Tinder Foundation, our new website is here.