On Friday, we held our third Annual General Meeting, and the 40-strong team (together with our Board) took a collective deep breath and blew out the three candles on our Tinder Foundation cake – which had our own faces printed on it!
Turning three felt good and was a bit of a pinch-me moment – at three, maybe I can think that this is real and no-one is going to wake me up and tell me it was all a dream. At the AGM we had a good look back on where we’ve come from, and a look ahead to the exciting times still to come.
Today we launch a new Tinder Foundation microsite. As a team, we spent some time on Friday taking a bit of trip down memory lane to look back at where we’ve come from – and it was great to relive some of these achievements, which I’m so proud of. They include us winning our first non-Government grant as an independent organisation from Nominet Trust, to develop the Community How To website, which is still going strong. We’ve since won contracts from DCLG to develop the English My Way programme, delivered the Widening Digital Participation programme with NHS England, won contracts to deliver activity with both Vodafone and TalkTalk and much more. And just a couple of months ago we won a contract with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to deliver the Future Digital Inclusion programme. So it’s been a pretty busy few years! Do take a look at our timeline of achievements on the microsite at the bottom of the About Us section.
While it’s great to take some time to look back on where we’ve come from, we’re keen to look to the future, and what will be coming next.
Digital inclusion will always remain close to our hearts, and we’ll continue to work hard to close the digital divide. When I talk to our hyperlocal partners and the people who have often overcome so much hardship, I’m aware that we can and should continue to work hard to do more. We’ve done a lot of listening to develop our strategy, listening to people separated from families, people struggling with worklessness, family tragedies, ill health, and people who have travelled thousands of miles to escape wars and poverty, as well as people living on the streets. These people are now using digital to help them in their lives, and they tell me how thankful they are for the help and support the local community staff and volunteers have given them. The staff and volunteers have told us how we at Tinder Foundation in turn provide them with essential tools and inspiration to help them, and we asked them what more would they want and need. And that’s our strategy.
People have told us that they want more online learning in other things they struggle with such as reading and writing. We will explore ways in which technology can support learning – just as we’re doing with the the Innovate UK programme, and supporting the UK online centres network to deliver learning to their communities
And we’ll look at finding digital solutions to social challenges, including continuing on our work with NHS England to support people to improve their health outcomes, and developing sub-groups within our network (for disabled people for example), and piloting approaches to tackle a number of social challenges through digital technology.
But why not take a look at the microsite yourself. Everything we’ll achieve will be in partnership – with grassroots organisations, companies big and small, government departments and everyone in between. So if you’d like to chat more about it, do get in touch.
A big thank you to all the team at Tinder Foundation, the Board, and of course the truly inspirational local people we work with in the UK online centres network every day. The past three years have been pretty great, but I think the next five could be even better.