Digital Inclusion

In 2016-17, digital inclusion has continued to be the mainstay of our work. We’ve delivered projects and programmes for a range of government departments, local authorities and corporate partners, all of which have, together, supported hundreds of thousands of people to gain digital skills that will benefit their lives.

Future Digital Inclusion

This year, Good Things Foundation’s flagship digital inclusion programme, Future Digital Inclusion, continued to support people to improve their digital skills, through the delivery of the Online Centres Network.

With a particular focus on people who are unemployed, low-skilled or disabled, the programme reached some of the most isolated and socially excluded people in society.

By supporting 240,000 people during 2016/17, we reached a cumulative total of 2 million people helped to gain digital skills since 2010 – an achievement we were proud to celebrate at an awards ceremony in London in January.

We were also pleased to see the difference we’ve been able to make to those who need it most – 80% of our learners were identified as socially excluded yet 70% moved on to further learning and 60% progressed to employment related activities.

The leadership of the Future Digital Inclusion moved from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to the Department for Education in 2016, and positive and productive relationships with our government partners means have been very happy to launch a third year of Future Digital Inclusion funding and delivery for 2017/18.

240,000 People


people supported during 2016/17

2,000,000 People


people helped to gain digital skills since 2010

of learners moved on to further learning

of learners progressed to employment related activities

Digital skills helps south London grandmother get life back on track

A grandmother from South London has overcome alcohol addiction and depression to gain new skills and transform her life and that of her family – thanks to her local Online Centre and Learn My Way.

Margaret McDonald, 55, was diagnosed with alcoholism after a visit to her doctor who helped her get the help she needed.

Margaret explains: “I was referred to a local charity that helped me wean myself off the drink. By the time I’d spent a year with them, I’d given up alcohol. But I’d had to give up work to keep up with my treatment and I was suffering from terrible depression. I felt like I was of no use to anyone – including my family. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be alive anymore.”

Margaret was then referred to the Reintegration and Aftercare Lewisham Service (ReAL), managed by the charity Blenheim, a member of the Online Centres Network.

Margaret tell us: “The team at Blenheim gave me so much support. They helped me start taking control of my own future, and one of the first steps was making sure I knew how to use a computer and the internet.”

Needing to learn the very basics of computer use and getting online, Margaret was introduced to the Learn My Way website.

Margaret tells us: “Learn My Way was absolutely fabulous! It started with the basics, it explained all the jargon, it showed me how to search, and it helped me get my first email address.

“It also gave me something to focus on while I was still really struggling with my addiction and depression. Having something to concentrate on and being able to use my brain kept me focussed on moving forward and keeping myself headed in the right direction.

“It took me a few months but the more confident I got, the more I was able to do online,” says Margaret. “I could do my shopping online and sort out things with the doctors. It helped me with my reading and writing, and I started to feel independent and in control again.

“Without Blenheim and them getting me online with Learn My Way, I’ve no idea where I’d be now. There’s not a chance in hell that I’d be the person I am today.

Margaret McDonald“The help I was given and the new skills I’ve gained have changed my life. They’ve given me life. They’ve brought my family back together, made them proud of me. They’ve made me proud of myself. For that, I can’t say thank you enough.”

Working with Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group
We’re happy to be continuing our work with Lloyds Banking Group this year, developing new programmes and activity that we know will have a real impact not only on the Online Centres Network, but on the learners they’re supporting.

Digital Champion Training

We continued to support Lloyds Digital Champions during 2016 -17, finding opportunities for volunteers to lend a hand within the Online Centres Network, through the Corporate Volunteer portal on the Online Centres Network.

The portal gives members of the Online Centres Network the opportunity to register digital skills volunteering opportunities with their organisation and this database of opportunities is shared with Lloyds Banking Group, allowing their newly trained Digital Champions the opportunity to find a centre in need near them. Hundreds of organisations have registered their interest in hosting Lloyds volunteers, with hundreds more Lloyds Digital Champions signing up to offer their support.

Online Centres Portal

Case Study

Rayann’s story is testament to the success of the Digital Champion training programme, Rayann volunteered as a Digital Champion at Online Centre Tap into IT. On a weekly basis Rayann visited one of Tap Into IT’s Club Centres, based at a sheltered housing unit. There he spent time sitting with members of the club on a one-to-one basis in order to assist with any issues they had about the technology they’re using. He’s also helped the centre create a new business development and growth strategy.
Rayann explains: “I worked with the Managing Director to identify four business problems that we felt blocked the growth of the organisation. In order to address those problems in a productive and fun way, I ran a workshop with 60 members of staff, stakeholders, partners and customers that included team energisers and games designed to creatively capture the output required to solve each business problem. The day was a great success!”

Get Online Week

Lloyds Banking Group were also the main supporter of the Get Online Week campaign in 2016, ensuring the campaign could reach many more people.

Through supplying promotional material that could help organisations taking part in the event to extend their marketing activity, and sponsoring the development of an engagement product, Lloyds ensured the campaign made a real impact.

Get Online Week

Working with TalkTalk

Talk-Talk For Everyone
September saw the announcement of a new strategic partnership with TalkTalk. From there the partnership has gone from strength to strength with October seeing the launch of ‘Staying Safe in Your Digital World’ – a new online safety course hosted on Learn My Way that was designed empower learners to take more responsibility for their personal online presence, helping them to feel more confident about using the internet, and to raise awareness of potential safety issues and the support out there to resolve them.
We’ve continued supporting TalkTalk Digital Champions, helping TalkTalk to recruit new Champions, and helping existing Champions to find opportunities to share their skills.

Since its launch


learners have completed the course

Working with Google on the Digital Garage

Google Digital Garage
In July 2016, we kicked off an exciting new partnership with Google to support the Digital Garage – a free online marketing training service, provided by Google, for business owners, employees or students who want to sharpen their digital marketing skills to grow their business or career. The project saw community organisations across the country provide digital skills support to small businesses, sole traders and people setting up businesses, helping them to make the most of the Digital Garage resources to find work, set up their business or be more efficient and profitable.

learners supported by almost

100 Online Centres

A report by Lloyds Banking Group in 2015 revealed that over a million businesses in the UK were still lacking basic digital skills, with a quarter believing digital is ‘irrelevant’ to them.

This project seeks to address these issues, by leveraging the reach of community organisations within the Online Centres Network who can tailor support based on the needs of individuals. Since the beginning of the programme, over 3,000 learners have used the Digital Garage resources, supported by almost 100 Online Centres. Good Things Foundation has also supported Google in key Digital Garage events in Port Talbot and Sheffield.

We’ve supported Online Centres funded through the Good programme with their delivery through webinar training and marketing collateral.


Alison O’Grady, 50, is a fully qualified confectioner with her own business – but her dyslexia meant she lacked the confidence to use computers and the internet.

Four years ago, she decided to set up her own cake making company – and when she wanted to grow it a bit further a friend suggested the pop along to the Digital Garage classes run at Eccles Library.

Learners who attend the classes are helped to use The Digital Garage. Alison says:

“I wasn’t sure at first. I’m dyslexic and I hated anything to do with computers, phones, you name it! But Sue convinced me to go and since then, it’s changed my perspective. I’ve learnt so much.”

The main aim for Alison is promotion – she wants to reach a wider audience with her business and that’s exactly what The Digital Garage is helping her to do.

“I love making cakes – it’s my passion and I can turn my hand to any design that my customers ask for,” says Alison. “It’s the other side of running a business that lets me down. Now, I have a Facebook page and I’m working on a website and a logo with a professional designer. I know so much more about what I want from these two things and I understand how they work”.

Since starting the classes, Alison’s knowledge and perspective on computers and the internet has come a long way – and she plans to keep on learning.

“I’m not a confident person and I’m not one of these people that is a go-getter, so for me this has benefitted my confidence as well. I now know I can go out and do more advertising – I’m even having advertising designed to take to markets and wedding fairs.

“I’m very happy, proud and confident, and more aware of what I have to do to get my business running. There’s a lot more to it than just waiting for people to come and talk to me. I am now taking positive action by getting out there.”

Work overseas

In 2016 – 17, we have continued to work with partners overseas to develop ways to share our experience and learnings.

In Australia, we’re delivering a project together with Leep, an Australian NGO, to support people with a disability in Western Sydney to improve their digital skills, using our expertise of building and engaging digital inclusion networks, along with Leep’s experience of on-the-ground delivery in Western Sydney.

We also delivered a pilot in the Philippines, together with ITU and the Philippines government testing how our Learn My Way platform could be used in the country, working with local Tech4ED centres.

Working with John Lewis

John Lewis
From September 2016 to January 2017, we worked on a new project with the John Lewis Partnership – Digital For All.

The aim of the project was to boost the digital skills and confidence of John Lewis partners across the organisation for both personal and wider social benefit. We trained Partners as Digital Champions across 27 sites and created a Digital For All Google+ community.

As a result of the training, 83% of Digital Champions said that their understanding of how to support Partners to develop a range of digital skills had improved.

This was a great opportunity for us to work with the private sector to improve employees’ digital skills in a large organisation, and this is something we’d love to do a lot more of in the future.

Working with the Prince’s Countryside Fund

We were delighted that Prince’s Countryside Fund are continuing to fund our work delivering digital inclusion in rural areas, an ongoing issue in our field (pardon the pun!).

Leading up to the launch of year two, we attended the Prince’s Countryside Forum in London, where our Chief Executive, Helen Milner OBE, gave a speech and two of the Good Things Foundation team along with one of our project partners, Destinations@Saltburn, presented a workshop and even meet with HRH Prince Charles.

For the project, we’re building on our success in year one by supporting three ‘Hubs’ to reach a broader audience, including individuals, businesses and community organisations, to increase their capacity for tackling some of the key digital issues in rural areas and building up sustainable models that will support communities for years to come.

Working with local authorities

Over the last year, we’ve worked with a number of local authorities to help them develop, deliver and measure effective programmes that can help residents to improve their digital skills, and go on to realise positive benefits for their lives.

In Leeds, we worked with Leeds City Council to catalyse a 100% digital movement by delivering a city-wide digital inclusion event.

The event brought together members of the public, private and community sectors to agree the principles of the movement, and to create a ‘people-led’ action plan by pledging concrete actions. This was supported by our Network Creator interactive digital mapping tool to create a ‘100% Digital Leeds’ map which local partners could sign up to.

In Sunderland, we ran an engagement event that brought partners from the public, private and third sectors together to map provision and co-create a plan for the future that they could all play a role in. We’re now working closely with the council to support the delivery of their Digital Inclusion strategy.

We’ve also worked with Tower Hamlets Council to embed digital inclusion activity across the borough, working with local community groups and organisations. We also developed a bespoke digital platform, based on Learn My Way, which was council-branded and which linked to relevant local content.

In Islington, we trained over 180 members of front-line staff from council walk-in centres, libraries, housing and customer services as Digital Champions. The training aimed to support staff to be confident and comfortable in helping residents to access online local and national services, including Council Tax, parking, Universal Credit and Universal Jobmatch.

We’ll be building on this work over the coming year, developing existing relationships and building new ones, with both local and Combined authorities, to deliver cohesive, locally led digital inclusion projects.