Joining the network: support in a time of change

150 organisations have joined the Network since the end of March - our Membership Manager Esther Oddy discusses the benefits of joining the Online Centres Network.

150 organisations have joined the Network since the end of March – and many have refreshed their memberships which may have lapsed due to other priorities or changes in staffing.

The growth in our membership reflects the current spotlight on the crucial role of being online. We also know some of you have been inspired to join our community because you may have heard about a specific opportunity – perhaps the DevicesDotNow scheme – and you want to find out more.

There’s been so much going on over the past few weeks. We think it’s a good time to remind everyone about all of the ways we can support you, with a refresher on all the free support and opportunities available to members of the Network.

When you become part of our big club, you all have your own dedicated Network Specialist – this person can guide you through any questions or issues you might have with your account set up or passwords, make sure we’ve got the correct information for you, help you to navigate the websites, and answer any questions you’ve got. If you’re not sure who your dedicated person is, then please just get in touch at or give us a call on 0114 349 1666.

You can also be featured on our public facing map – a really good way of promoting your organisation and being clear about the types of service you can support people with. Lots of our members have recently amended this information to reflect their new ways of working during the pandemic – you can easily update the entry and then change it back again later.

‘We’ve seen an increase in Online Centres supporting each other and sharing resources through our Facebook group and retweeting posts on Twitter.’

As a member, you’ll have access to Learn My Way and the bespoke data management system tools to help you measure your learners’ progress and chart achievements, as well as giving you the ability to prove impact to funders. Your Network Specialist can help you more with this.

You’ll receive regular updates and news from us, plus you can keep an eye on Network news on social media, including a closed members-only Facebook group. We’ll send you a newsletter each week, just for Network members, where you will find out all about funding opportunities – both external and Good Things Foundation grants – as well as training dates, sector news, upcoming events, and lots of useful resources.

Rose, our Network Communications Specialist on the team, says “We’re always keen to hear from our Network and share any useful information and resources, so if you’d like to share something please get in touch. Since support has moved completely online, we’ve seen an increase in Online Centres supporting each other and sharing resources through our Facebook group, and retweeting posts on Twitter. It’s great to see everyone helping each other out. It demonstrates a real sense of community and collaboration in true Network style.”

You’ll also find we have a national voice and advocate and influence for the community sector and for the power of digital inclusion. By joining us you can make sure your voice is heard. Tell us your challenges and we will continue to campaign to help people to gain digital skills. We oversee Get Online Week each year, raising the profile of getting online in creative and fun ways – and we’d love you to join in. We work passionately alongside our members to support community organisations to get people online so that they are not left behind in this increasingly digital world.

I hope this has helped some of you get a bit more context about your membership and how we can support you. Please do get in touch with us with any questions – our phone lines are open as usual from 9am – 5:30pm (5pm on Fridays) or you can send us an email at