New strategy, new era

06 Jul 2022

By Gabi Woodhams, Head of Network Delivery and Customer Support, and Isobel Thomas, Head of Community Experience and Engagement

Those of you who are keen of eye may have noticed the launch of Good Things Foundation’s new strategy last month. It’s been months in the making and we’re so excited that it’s now actually out there in the wild.

Why did we do it?

Well, for a long time Good Things Foundation and the Network have been chipping away at digital exclusion, bringing skills and support to people in communities where it’s needed the most. Then Covid-19 hit.

The pandemic caused such a shift, both in the way we all work and in the specific needs around digital inclusion. It both highlighted and deepened the digital divide at a pace never seen before.

We knew we had to act - and act quickly - to make sure digitally excluded people most at risk of isolation didn’t suffer unnecessarily. So we stepped up our game and for the first time began providing devices and data to people cut off in their homes. Community organisations in the network encountered massive new challenges and in many cases found ways around, delivering remotely and getting devices out to people for whom it was a lifeline. Nothing was perfect but every action counted.

We were really keen not to lose this momentum as the world settled into its new groove post-lockdowns. So we’ve taken what we built during those months and are now developing and scaling this model so data and devices become part of the mission to Fix the Digital Divide.

This new strategy clearly and simply lays out the National Databank and National Device Bank alongside the Digital Inclusion Network.

Over the next three years we will:

  • Engage 1 million people helping them to benefit from the digital world.
  • Grow and support 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs across the nation to respond to local needs

What does this mean for the network?

We’re bringing in a new funding model and updated membership offer to ensure we can grow the network while still providing the support needed to long-standing members of the network.

We understand that centres know their community - and their learners - best and we want to be able to offer funding that centres can use in the most effective way to build their own digital inclusion capability. That’s why our new funding model isn’t based on delivering numbers as in the past but is more flexible on how grants are used. Find out more about Digital Inclusion Capability Grants.

We also want as many centres as possible to be able to distribute data and devices in their community, as well as offering digital skills support. If your centre is not yet taking advantage of the Databank and Device Bank then find out how you can apply for access to the databank.

Look out too for the launch of our new training programme in Autumn 2022, designed to bring you bite-sized training opportunities to help you to provide digital inclusion support in your communities. Our new training programme is being co-designed and delivered with four experienced members of our network. These four organisations are our new digital inclusion Ambassadors and between them have a wealth of experience to share.

What next?

There are still 2 million households that struggle to afford internet access in the UK today, and 10 million adults who lack the most basic digital skills. We need to act now, together, bringing corporate partners, government departments and public organisations along on the journey with us. This new strategy will help us do just that.

View the 2022-2025 strategy.

We’d love to know what you think of the new strategy. Get in touch with us on hello@goodthingsfoundation.org or come along to our next Network Meetup