Community Transformers

On Tuesday I visited London Community College, a new community partner in Tinder Foundation’s UK online centres network. I was there with representatives from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Baroness Williams, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Visiting London Community College July 2015

We met people learning English at the centre and found out about how the English My Way programme is helping them to feel more connected to their community. Our English My Way project, funded by DCLG, is now in its second year and is a classroom based learning programme aimed at people who have very, very little English language.

It was also good to see how the curriculum – led by the British Council – was working alongside the Tinder Foundation hyperlocal partner network. The BBC are also a national partner, developing great resources and running learning circles.

Meeting learners at London Community College

London Community College is a wonderful place and it was a pleasure to be visiting for the first time. I loved seeing their English My Way lesson plan (printed off from the national site) and how it’s been embedded into their wider learning programme. It was great chatting to Centre Manager Avinash Panchoory who said he thinks Learn My Way is the best progression route from English My Way, which was music to my ears!

Witnessing English My Way in action at London Community College

   Images courtesy of London Community College

He also said: “We have a very diverse group of learners who represent the local community and who require our support to help them integrate through English My Way. London Community College is proud to promote integration within the community and eliminate barriers to communication through English My Way.”

Places like London Community College are encouraging their learners to share their knowledge with their own communities. Imagine the difference it would make to a mother, for example, who has learnt about English My Way and now has the confidence to go to her son’s parents evening and speak to the teacher. Or a woman I met at a previous event who has the confidence now to say hello to her neighbour as they have share a common language.

I always feel privileged to visit organisations like London Community College that are really embedded in the heart of the most deprived communities. It’s places like this my entire team work so hard to support on a daily basis, and it’s places like this where people lives are getting transformed.

English My Way is a free website packed full of resources, lesson plans, and a learning platform:

Why I believe libraries can thrive in a digital world

I was delighted to recently be asked to write a guest blog for the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), which leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland because I adore libraries.

Libraries are a regular topic on my blog, and anyone that knows me will know I could happily talk for hours about them! I’m passionate about what they stand for and their potential to play an even more prominent role in their communities.

I’ve spoken a lot about this in the past, and I’m particularly keen to see libraries evolve and excel in the 21st century, which is why I’m so pleased to be working with SCL to strengthen the Universal Offers of public library services. And it’s with great excitement that Tinder Foundation will be making an exciting announcement next week about a new project that aims to support libraries, and their digital offering in particular, over the next few years.

To continue reading my thoughts on why libraries are essential to our society visit the SCL blog

Is Facebook the gateway to the internet?


I’m always talking to my team about finding new ways to reach people, whether that’s people that aren’t online and don’t have digital skills, or the people that do have some sort of access but still don’t know how to use it, or simply aren’t motivated to use it.

One thing we know is that to reach new people we have to go where they are and not expect them to come to us. Here’s a fact for you: 70% of our community partners do outreach work, physically going out and finding the people that need their help the most. At Tinder Foundation, it’s just as important for us to be looking for these people in the online world too, which is where Learn My Way’s new Facebook course comes in.

Learn My Way - Doing More with Facebook

Designed to help people that have already signed up for a Facebook account but either don’t know how to use it or lack the confidence to use it (the digitally excluded come in all shapes and sizes), Doing More With Facebook shows people how to make the most of social media, do more with Facebook, and gives them a taste of Learn My Way in the hope that they’ll want to continue learning. It will even post to your wall so you can encourage friends to use the course app too.

Learn My Way - Doing More with Facebook









The team behind Learn My Way work closely with stakeholders to develop new learning content and they started to think about creating something for social media after a lot of community partners found the young people they were working with in particular had access to Facebook on their phones, but weren’t using the internet for other things like applying for jobs, looking for housing, or even emailing their granddad.

This also ties in with Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015, which found 40% of internet users only visit between 5-10 websites a week, with 50% of newer internet users visiting between 1-4 websites on average a week. I think we can assume Facebook features somewhere in that list.

So, the idea is we’re breaking down barriers by reaching people in a place where they’re comfortable and introducing them to Learn My Way and tonnes of free learning in the process.