Since its launch in 2013, the English My Way programme has gone from strength to strength.
Developed with BBC Learn English and the British Council as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) English language competition, the 24-week blended learning programme supports UK residents with very little or no English language skills.
The programme aims to improve community integration and reduce social isolation by improving the skills of members of migrant communities in the UK, with a particular focus on isolated women.
The programme has continued to be such a success that we were very proud to be awarded a further £1.9 million to continue and grow the project throughout 2017/18.
We look forward to helping more people excluded through their limited language skills with, including through the introduction of a new learning facing English My Way mobile app.
Reboot UK is an innovative project funded by the Big Lottery Fund which aims to support people in poverty to improve their digital skills and in turn their wellbeing. The project targets three key audience groups – families in poverty, homeless people, and people with mental health needs. These groups are far more likely to make up some of the 12.6 million people in the UK who aren’t online and don’t have basic digital skills.
These groups are also harder to engage in digital skills training, and have a range of complex barriers, so Reboot UK was designed to find innovative ways to reach and engage these audiences. It began a test-and-learn project in September 2015. The evaluation of the test and learn project, shows that learners have increased their digital skills by an average of 14.6% with 17% more confidence to use the internet without help. The report also found that improved digital skills helped people to take specific steps that lead to positive wider benefits, such as being able to cope with benefits payments, moving towards work readiness, and feeling more in control.
In late 2016, we were awarded further funding from the Big Lottery Fund to extend the reach of the project, and work with more local delivery partners. We’ve also created a range of resources to support the delivery of the project, developed in conjunction with both consortium and delivery partners.
Reboot UK is a consortium-led project, which brings together the expertise of Good Things Foundation, Homeless Link, Family Fund and Mind.
Learning new skills with Dan – and then volunteering to help others do the same – has been a key part of his journey to get back on track.
“Being a Digital Champion has been a great for me – I get work experience, and it’s really given me confidence working in a social environment. I owe Dan a big thank you for meeting me and giving me the opportunity to learn IT skills and volunteer at his centre.”
“I’m so much better now I have a purpose and a routine, I can handle things much better in my daily life and I’m very optimistic about the future. Everybody needs IT for everyday life, and I like helping others learn how to make the most of it. I’ve come a long way, and it hasn’t been easy. My mum and my sister are really proud of me, though, and that’s a really good feeling.”
We’ve continued to deliver the Comic Relief-funded Money My Way programme in 2016 – 17. Since it started back in July 2015, this 3-year project has reached over 35,000 people who are in deprived areas and have the most to gain from managing their finances online.
In the UK, there are 8.8 million people who are over-indebted, with 83% of those not seeking advice.
With resources on Learn My Way covering everything from budgeting to dealing with debt, this project has proved popular with both centres and learners within the network and we’re looking forward to supporting even more people to increase their digital and financial know-how.
During 2016/17, members of the Online Centres Network funded to deliver the programme have supported more than 10,000 people to use HMRC’s online services, enabling them to access and understand Child Benefits, Tax Credits and more.
By focussing on BME and ESOL learners, people with disabilities, rural communities and sole-traders, micro-businesses or SMEs, we’ve reached some of those most in need of support accessing these services. We’ve already begun to see they way the advice has supported families struggling with the terminal illness of a child, or those living in poverty.
In the latter part of the year, we were successful in applying for the Money Advice Service’s What Works Fund.
According to research by the Money Advice Service, four out of ten adults are not in control of their finances and around 16.8 million working age people have less than £100 in savings. However, very little evidence currently exists on the best way to address this issue. The fund aims to build evidence and to establish the interventions which can best help people to manage their money.
As part of our delivery, we’re undertaking a research project that aims to support individuals to improve their financial capability. We’ll be comparing the outcomes of two different financial capability interventions, which will be delivered to 720 participants, by 18 Online Centres. This type of randomised control trial with members of the Online Centres Network is a first for Good Things Foundation.
We’re working with financial capability experts Toynbee Hall to build the interventions, and the University of Sheffield are providing research expertise and statistical analysis support.
Although, we’re in the early stages of the project, we’re already excited about how this deep-dive work is helping us identify the best ways to support people with dealing with financial hardships.
With our Widening Digital Participation programme coming to an end in March 2016, we sought to use our experience in the delivery of two NHS Testbeds projects.
These pioneering projects are testing new technologies and ways of working that will have an impact on patients. We are working with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to test how technology can support people over 55, and we’ll be helping to upskill patients, and to introduce them to Learn My Way, so they can access technology independently in the future. As part of the Sheffield Testbed, which aims to support people with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, mental health problems, respiratory disease, hypertension and other chronic conditions using technological innovations, and we’re providing digital inclusion support to ensure both patients and staff can engage with it.