Reviewing the year

Today sees the launch of Tinder Foundation’s Annual Review 2013-2014.  I know I say this every year, but looking back I’m incredibly proud of how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve achieved. It’s a totally online Annual Review, interactive and whizzy, and I highly recommend you pay it a visit.

Some of our highlights:

  • The UK online centres network

As ever, the network is top of my highlights list.  It remains Tinder’s unique selling point, allowing us to deliver learning at scale, with the flexibility to respond to very local needs.   This year, we’ve supported 180 centres with grant funding, including the large scale Community Capacity Builders, and our four specialist networks supporting Disabled people, Older People, Carers, and helping people Into Work.  It’s through these networks that we’ve sought to target those most in need of digital skills support, and used our ‘discover, seed, scale’ model to share the best practice and findings from those networks across the wider UK online centres family.  We’ve also given out around 200 small event grants, helping centres run events to engage with new audiences.


  • Working with libraries

I want to mention more specifically our work with libraries, which continue to make up more than half of the UK online centres network, and remain key in helping us deliver outreach deep into urban and rural communities.  Over the last year, Tinder Foundation we’ve worked closely with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) to help more libraries support more people with digital skills needs, including a new workforce development training programme for the library network.  More than 50 SCL regional leads have completed the training, and have taken away materials to help disseminate what they’ve learned to branch library colleagues.

  • The Widening Digital Participation Programme

Last Summer we started our work with NHS England to create a new Digital Health Information network of 400 centres who use innovation to support people to access health information online. Between them they have reached more than 100,000 people, with  60,000 being trained to access health information online through the Learn My Way health portal and the new Staying Healthy with NHS Choices health course.  You can read the full report on Year 1 of the programme online.

  • The set-up essentials tool and Home Access network

The Home Access project, again supported by BIS, showed how important home access to IT equipment and connectivity is to overcoming barriers to digital inclusion. The diagnostic tool was launched on Learn My Way in January 2014, and by the end of March had already been used more than 4,000 times. Meanwhile, the 60 Home Access pilot centres have received specialist training for their staff and volunteers, and have given personalised face-to-face guidance sessions to more than 400 people about how to get online at home.  Read more here.

  •  Our “Digital evolution, making good things happen” conference

In December, our annual conference supported grassroots practitioners to have a bigger impact in their communities, and speakers from the US and UK, and across the public, private and voluntary sectors talked about why and how they’re supporting digital inclusion, and more importantly how centres can work with new partners and achieve more for more people. Delegates really loved the event and thanks again to BT for hosting us.  Read the full report here.

  •  Marketing campaigns that reached thousands

Our annual Get Online Week (October) and Start Something (Feb – March) community campaigns reached nearly 100,000 people and helped local centres reach out to new audience groups and new community partners. With 11m people without basic online skills these campaigns are so important to reaching new people and linking them with local partners who can help them to get the digital skills they want.

  • Learn My Way goes from strength to strength

The Learn My Way platform has gone from strength to strength this year, with new content and videos, and new courses like our popular Universal Jobmatch guide. We also added the fantastic English My Way portal – an ESOL programme developed in partnership with the British Council and the BBC as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s English Language competition. We’ve also piloted content co-creation – helping centres and tutors create their own Learn My Way courses – watch this space for more information on that one.

  • The Digital Deal Challenge Fund

Tinder Foundation delivered and project managed this digital inclusion Challenge Fund for the social housing sector, run as a cross-government initiative supported by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government. The aim is to trial and spread ways of getting social housing tenants to engage with their landlords online, and it’s been a fantastic first year with 12 social landlord partners. We’ll be publishing the findings soon on our Digital Housing Hub which continues to go from strength to strength.

  • Digital nation infographic

Back in November, we created our popular new infographic about the digital world, which you can download here.  It shows the 36 million people on the sunny side of the digital divide, as well as the 11 million still in the digital dark. As well as the key facts and figures it also summarises what we know works to help people cross over to the online world.  The idea was to consolidate key stats and facts from across the digital inclusion sector, and create a single ‘picture’ of the UK as a digital nation.


  • A leading digital nation by 2020

In February we published this report, authored by Catherine McDonald and commissioned by Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK, set to take a look at digital inclusion from a different angle, costing out for the very first time the necessary measures to equip 100% of the adult UK population with the basic online skills needed for a sustained internet usage. It revealed that the total cost for a 100% digitally skilled nation is £875m, and split three ways between Government, the private sector, and the community and voluntary sector, this works out at approximately £50m from Government per year up to 2020. Given the £1.7bn savings from moving public services online alone – this investment seems well worth making.

  • Corporate volunteering programme, Online Basics qualifications, Community Development Award and much much more!

Our corporate volunteering programme has seen 140 EE employees and 50 TalkTalk employees trained as Digital Champions and volunteering in local UK online centres.  Meanwhile, another 3,500 people have achieved our City & Guilds accredited Online Basics Qualification, and 23 people have graduated with our Level 3 Community Development Award.  I could go on, but you might as well read the whole Annual Review for yourself!

The past year has really seen us grow, develop in new directions and build our relationship with the hyperlocal organisations who are so vital to what we do. Over the past year, we – and the UK online centres network – have continued to support some of the hardest to reach people in society, with 82% of learners coming through the network meeting one or more indicators of social exclusion. The ability of centres within the network to help those that can’t be reached by other means continues to be vital to supporting so many of those most in need. And although I also say this every year, I think the year ahead is going to be even more significant.

While digital inclusion will always be at our heart, we are continuing to diversify, growing our work in adult learning and supporting the centres in our network to have a greater impact in their communities, not just by supporting digital inclusion activity but in many other ways.

We couldn’t do any of this without the network of wonderful, hard working, and continually inspiring UK online centres.

Thank you all.


One thought on “Reviewing the year

  1. Pingback: Reviewing the year – Helen Milner | Public Sector Blogs

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