Blogs are obviously like buses, I don’t do one for ages and then two come along all at the same time! But, hey, when you’ve got good news, you want to shout about it.
So this is the Big One. We’ve won a contract with BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) to deliver a Future Digital Inclusion programme. This shows a real commitment from government to supporting people in some of the hardest-to-reach communities – to improve their life chances, find work, and learn more about the things that interest them. This new contract demonstrates the Government’s interest – and now investment – in supporting people to develop not only online skills to help them access government services, but to benefit from all the opportunities the internet can provide.
I hear the stories everyday of how starting to use the web for the first time really transforms people’s lives, and with this new contract we’ll be able to help so many more – people like Marita, Edward, Doreen and Stella, Manjula and Rasila, Hitesh and Peter.
Up to March 2015, we will support 200,000 people through the network of grassroots UK online centres, based in informal settings in the heart of local communities; specifically people who are unemployed, on a low income or in low-skilled jobs, people with a disability or learning difficulty, people in rural areas and people who are socially excluded. Hundreds of hyperlocal organisations will get grant funding, and thousands of others will access online resources – such as Learn My Way. We know there are already thousands of fantastic volunteers working in the local community centres and libraries, and with BIS’s support we will now train an additional 750 Digital Champion volunteers.
To help us support our network in engaging the right groups of people, we’ve been busy developing partnerships with several organisations, including Abilitynet, Mind, Scope, Silver Training, UnionLearn and Digital Unite – organisations who can share their expertise with our staff and volunteers working on the ground and help us expand our network.
Here are a couple of great endorsements we got from Ministers for our press release, which you can read in full over on the Tinder Foundation website:
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy said: “In order for the UK to remain a leading digital nation it is essential that everyone has the skills they need to benefit from the internet. Digital can make our economy stronger, by supporting individuals to find work and providing our businesses with further opportunities to grow, innovate and access new markets. We need to ensure that those without basic online skills are not left behind, and the Future Digital Inclusion programme will play a critical role in ensuring that these individuals develop the digital skills they need to succeed.”
Nick Boles, Minister of State for Skills and Equalities says: “Digital skills are increasingly essential for people wishing to progress in learning and employment. As the digital inclusion programme shows, we are committed to helping those people most in need to develop the skills and confidence they need to get online.”
In December I’m going to be blogging about our three year birthday, how we’ve diversified, how we work well with a range of Government Departments and bodies, and the amazing partnerships we’ve got with the private sector and Trusts.
But today, I’m going to say how BIS has a special place in my heart, how they gave us the first contract we ever won – the one that meant that Tinder Foundation, the social enterprise, was born alive and kicking.
Today, I’m going to say thank you to BIS for having a contract for digital inclusion, and thank you for choosing us to deliver it for you.