We celebrated this big birthday in style, by highlighting ten inspirational stories of people helped to gain digital skills by the Online Centres Network.
Whether it was Arthur and his daughter Sue who shared their story staying connected across hundreds of miles, or Rob who found work and a new inspiration for helping others with his local centre, each one of them epitomised the spirit of the campaign by demonstrating the real difference that digital skills can make to people’s lives.
We were also pleased to welcome our first campaign sponsor in the shape of Lloyds Banking Group.
Not only did their trained digital champions support community campaign events, but their support allowed us fill our campaign marketing packs with balloons, badges, pens and more, and give new internet users a fun taste of what getting online can offer through our Get Online Week engagement game.
Running for two weeks from 23 February – 6 March, the campaign focussed on the importance of digital skills for work, saying ‘For a new job, new skills or for your business, Be Online’.
This more tightly focused campaign saw 550 online centres hold 2,000 events in communities across the country. They reached out and told local people about the help they could provide helping those looking for work, those wanting to improve their skills for the workplace and those looking to grow a small business.
All this hard work led to Be Online 2017 reaching almost 22,000 people, with at least a small handful of these being helped thanks to the return of Stockport’s ‘bee online’ mascot.
The conference aimed to talk about how digital technology could help to solve some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Chaired again by Maggie Philbin, the day saw speakers including Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Digital Economy Minister and Karl Wilding of NCVO share their thoughts, ideas and stories with delegates, alongside two great panels around the links between poverty and digital, and how we can ensure we are engaging the hardest to reach.
But most important of all was the opportunities for delegates to meet others and share ideas, and as ever delegates left full of ideas and inspiration.
We received so many notable entries and it was very hard to whittle it down. All finalists were invited to a special ceremony at the BT Tower in London to receive their prizes and it made for a truly awe-inspiring day.
There were smiles and there were tears but most of all, everyone left feeling motivated and ready to reach 2 million more.