Reboot UK: Gaining a deeper understanding

03 Jul 2018 |Written by Robert Shapiro

Over the last two years, I’ve watched the Reboot UK project test interventions and explore what role digital can have in aiding recovery, reintegration and an improved outlook for individuals with multiple challenges - identifying and sharing what works I am really excited about getting more involved, having a much more hands-on approach in the third phase of the project.


And it’s a particularly exciting time. This week we’re inviting new organisations to apply for funding to take part in Reboot UK phase 3. Grants of £2,250 and £4,500 are available for organisations who can support homeless people, or people with mental health problems gain the skills and access to use digital technology.

It is fantastic news that The Big Lottery Fund will continue to fund the project as we deliver it for a further two years, in partnership with Mind and Homeless Link. It’s great that the work can continue and I’m honoured to be a part of that. It’s all about building on the work that has already been done and now is the time to consolidate, refine and disseminate the lessons learned from the first two phases.

What is Reboot UK all about?

Good Things Foundation is working with Mind and Homeless Link to provide digital skills for the most disadvantaged members of society.

Reboot UK is the only significant national digital skills programme to focus exclusively on meeting the needs of people with multiple disadvantages. It explores how best to support vulnerable people to improve their lives through digital skills.

With homelessness increasing by 169% since 2010 and approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, this phase will focus primarily on supporting these audiences.

What makes the project different from other digital skills interventions is that Reboot UK focuses on gaining a deep understanding of each beneficiary’s needs, and tailoring interventions to meet those needs.

With this ethos, we aim to support 3,250 people to develop digital skills over the next phase of the project.

Understanding what works

A thorough evaluation of the first 2 phases of Reboot UK allowed us to identify a number of successful models to supporting vulnerable people with multiple disadvantages to develop digital skills. In February our Head of Social Inclusion Nicola Speake launched our evaluation Reboot UK: Social outcomes powered by digital. These findings are helping us to shape our approach moving forward.

One of the key findings is that the most effective approach for frontline workers is to embed digital skills support within a holistic service offer, rather than seeing it as separate training.

We’ve seen how refining and scaling this model can create widespread systemic change benefiting socially and digitally excluded people and the organisations that support them. Mind in Bexley is a good example of this and why we want to focus the project on embedding digital in frontline workers.

This embedded approach also means that digitally excluded people need not to wait until a digital skills course becomes available - the frontline worker supporting them will have the confidence to be able to address their issues immediately and work with them on a longer-term basis to embed and develop their digital skills.

The value of Peer Support

The idea of peer mentors has proved key to the success of Reboot UK so far. It’s been fantastic to see how effective volunteers with lived experience are within the model of support offered - something we’ll continue to focus on.

In fact, our recently published Theory of Change explores the journeys of all the individuals we help and how peer to peer support is often vital to overcoming barriers to learning.

We also understand this through stories like that of Sal and the inspirational Ross who then went onto volunteer, showing the value peer mentors have in building confidence and how this trust enables the people they’re supporting to try new things.

“I’ve seen the benefits of what it’s done for me, so I can encourage others to give it a go - pass what I’ve learned onto someone else. If I can learn it, anyone can, because we all have the same fears to overcome.”
Sal, Deptford.

We want to create a network

As our test and learn approach to interventions continues, we really want to share what we have learned so far and build a network of specialists in this area.

We’ll be raising awareness, showcasing delivery models, and aiming to make the model sustainable in the long run. This map will track all the activity that is taking place across the project and will identify organisations involved.

Reboot UK shows that when Good Things Foundation says it wants a world where everyone benefits from digital, it really means everyone. No one should be left behind and this project is a great example of how - in partnership with Mind and Homeless Link - we’re continuing to explore ways to make digital accessible and relevant to those who are seldomly engaged.

Mental Health and homelessness are some of the priority social inclusion areas that Good Things Foundation are keen to talk to organisations and potential partners about.

If you’d like to find out more about Reboot UK you can sign up to the webinar, Friday 22 June at 11:30am. Alternatively please get in touch at