Tis the season to look back at the year we’ve had at Good Things Foundation. Earlier this month we celebrated our seventh birthday, and I’m so proud of our teams on both sides of the world. Seven feels like such a turning point, and what a good year we’ve had to show it.
Here are my top five of so many wonderful moments:
- Celebrating English My Way’s successes
In February we usually host a smaller digital inclusion campaign – think of it as Get Online Week’s little sister – but this year we decided to do something a bit different and we hosted a campaign called Hip Hip Hooray for English My Way. This one focussed on our big social inclusion project which helps people who live in the UK and who can’t speak any English to learn to speak and read English and help them to integrate more into their local communities. The fab titled Hip Hip Hooray for English My Way campaign asked members of the Online Centres Network who are delivering English My Way to host parties and celebrate their learners’ successes, using a special party pack provided by us. There was bunting! I visited an event at Zest for Work in Sheffield and was blown away by the dedication of both the team running the course and the learners themselves and all of the food the people had brought along representing dozens of countries from around the world. It was an inspirational time.
- Welcoming new faces to the Good Things Foundation family
This was a year of growth. We’ve expanded right across the digital and social inclusion sphere and that means we’ve welcomed lots of great new people into the Good Things family. And what a great bunch they are! I’m delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment they all have to our aim of a world where everyone can benefit from digital. Once again, to all the new people, we’re delighted to have you on board. To all of the not-so-new staff members at Good Things, you’re brilliant and fabulous, and passionate and committed too, thank you once again for another year of hard work.
- Hitting 2,000 network partners in Australia
In 2017 we ventured out to Australia, establishing a new Australian subsidiary and winning a contract to run the Be Connected Network, supporting older Australians to use computers and the internet. There has been a crazy amount of hard work gone into getting everything set up, recruiting our team in Sydney, and persuading thousands of organisations to be part of the Be Connected Network. We had a target of 2,000 Network Partners and at the end of October, we did it! And of course, that number is still rising. What a huge achievement by the teams on both sides of the world. A big congratulations to everyone who made this happen and here’s to the hundreds of thousands of older people who will now be able to benefit from using the internet. Find out more about Good Things Australia here.
- Get Online Week is 12 and goes global
This year may have seen the UK celebrating it’s 12th annual Get Online Week but it was very exciting that we also went global to bring the campaign to Australia as well. Not only were people being supported to #Try1Thing new online through 2,298 events in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but 768 events were also held across Australia by 570 community organisations to support people there too. Incredible achievements from both Good Things teams and all of the organisations that hosted events to support learners.
- Awards, awards and more awards
We have been very lucky on the award front this year. Not only did we scoop a Women in IT Award, a Charity Times Award and a Connected Britain Award, in the last few weeks we won two awards at the Learning Technology Awards – the bronze for Best Blended Learning Product and our Learning Team won the gold for Team of the Year. The work that we do is very rewarding in itself but it’s been brilliant to receive this recognition. Congratulations to all.
On top of all of this, we had our amazing Digital Evolution conference; we continued to support people to learn digital skills through our FDI programme; we’re working on a brilliant project with DCMS to create a ‘Playbook’ for local digital skills provision (if you’d like to contribute, you can do so here); we ran a wonderful programme to support women to find their voice and participate in society and democracy, called Voicebox Cafes; we’re working on the local, as well as the global level, in Leeds, Salford, and Stockport; our NHS Widening Digital Participation project has been testing even more innovative approaches to tackling health inequalities in hyperlocal digital and human health systems with medical practitioners, CCGs, and Online Centres, and talking about our findings in the open on our digital-health-lab; of course we’re also working with partners in Kenya; and so much more. (No wonder we’re all looking forward to a rest this Christmas!)
We have continued to work with fabulous national partners who share our vision at Lloyds Banking Group, Mind, Homeless Link, TalkTalk, and Google, as well as new partners too.
And there are even more super exciting things in the wings that I can’t tell you about yet!!!
Thank you to everyone who has worked to make good things happen over the course of 2018.
I can’t wait to do it all again – and more – in 2019.