Our stories

How joining the network helped us to grow

Hear from Christine Locke, Founder and Chief Executive of Diversity House, about how being part of the Online Centres Network has helped her organisation to thrive.

By Good Things Foundation · 09/03/2022

Christine Locke, Founder and Chief Executive of Diversity House tells us how her organisation has thrived as part of the Online Centres Network:

“Diversity House has benefited immensely from joining theOnline Centres Network. We joined during the pandemic and were able to learn a lot about how our centre could evolve through embedding digital inclusion into the support we provide. 

We received devices and data connectivity through the Everyone Connected programme and this was fantastic, it made delivering our hybrid services so much easier. Having access to a device and connectivity meant that our service users had no barriers in continuing their learning. They also used the devices to socialise during the coronavirus lockdowns, improving their health and wellbeing by staying well connected with their loved ones. 

Joining the Online Centres Network helped us stay up to date on upcoming projects and opportunities.

Without joining the network, we wouldn’t have known about the Census Support Service and the opportunities it could provide for us. In 2021, we were successful in our application to become a Census Support Centre, this enabled us to receive funding and develop a new brand for ourselves. We built a bigger profile in the local community, we were even awarded the census 2021 Champion Certificate of Appreciation.

Our involvement with the Online Centres Network has enabled us to reach new people, having the devices and resources meant that during the pandemic we reached refugees and asylum seekers, a group we have been trying to engage for some time.

Part of this work involved distributing multicultural food parcels. Service users were able to use their devices to translate from Arabic into English and let us know what food they wanted, we wouldn’t have been able to do this without access to these devices. 

Outside of the funding opportunities we’ve been able to acquire by becoming members of the network, I’ve enjoyed attending the monthly network meet-ups. The meet-ups have been a great opportunity to hear from other Online Centres about what they are doing and how they are doing it. Through the discussions we are able to hear about the barriers centres are facing and how they are overcoming them. Hearing about the work of other Online Centres at these events inspires you to do more, and you’re able to witness their resilience. 

I would encourage other community organisations to join the Online Centres Network as it helps to connect you to other community organisations with a similar vision. Running a community organisation can be a lonely place to be but connecting with other organisations is a reminder that you are not alone. By joining the Online Centres Network you’ll learn new skills, the website is filled with free information and opportunities. Joining the network has enabled our centre to grow.”