Will 2023 be a good year for fixing the digital divide? Yes it will.
Good Things Foundation’s Group CEO, Helen Milner OBE, blogs about our plans and ambitions for 2023.
Against the backdrop of one of the most difficult years facing the UK in recent times, with rising pressures on households – and the charities, social enterprises and vital services which support them – 2022 saw extraordinary resilience and collaboration.
With the launch of our new strategy, exciting new partnerships and big steps forward to fix the digital divide, it was a truly significant and successful year for Good Things Foundation and our partners.
Looking forward, as we enter the brand new year, and unfortunately another year of financial hardship for many, I wanted to take the time to share with you the ambitious ways we are planning to fix the digital divide – and invite you to join us.
In 2023 we’re growing the National Digital Inclusion Network
One of our central goals of our bold new strategy is to support 5,000 UK Digital Inclusion Hubs.
Last year we were over the moon to have 1000 new organisations join our network – in 2023 we want to recruit even more, as this local trusted support is vital to reach and personalise the help excluded people need. Being part of this national network will help local organisations do more and to connect with others with the same goals.
If you’re an organisation, anywhere in the UK, working in communities, and you want to embed digital inclusion into your support offer, then please join thousands of others like you. Our goal is to help you to achieve more, our offer to you is free and it’s co-designed with organisations like yours – find out how to join in here.
In 2023 the National Device Bank will get more tech to more people in need
Last year we launched the UK’s first ever National Device Bank – it’s currently being piloted with community organisations across the nation. In 2023 we have big plans for the device bank – starting with distributing 2000 refurbished devices (tablets, smartphones, and laptops) to be gifted to excluded people in January through our hyperlocal partners. Join the national digital inclusion network to take part in your community.
If you’re a business who can donate devices or other old tech then your help is urgently needed – please get in touch.
In 2023 – the National Databank will reach even more people
The National Databank is already a huge success and continues to expand. Created in collaboration with Virgin Media O2, it gives free mobile data to people in need, with data donated by O2, Vodafone and Three. We now have over 900 organisations accessing it, including community centres, libraries, refugee and asylum seeker support, foodbanks and women’s shelters. We will soon exceed our 1000 local databanks goal.
This year, we want even more organisations to sign up. Local organisations can become local databanks working with us. By joining, you’ll be helping end data poverty in the UK – for good. Find out more here.
In 2023 – fixing the digital divide is an urgent priority
Given the backdrop of rising inflation and finances being even tougher on people across the UK, then 2023 is a year where fixing the digital divide is as urgent and as important as ever.
Our new strategy is focusing on what we’re good at – working with partners and providing that national social infrastructure underpinning digital inclusion in every town, city, and community.
We can’t fix the digital divide without our partners – the fantastic national digital inclusion network of thousands of community partners as well as our strategic partners and our project partners.
Will 2023 be a good year for fixing the digital divide? Yes, together we can fix the digital divide – in 2023 to reach every community and to help the millions of people excluded we want to work with more partners – locally, nationally, and internationally – please join us, and let’s help more people cross the digital divide so that they can thrive in an increasingly online world.
Helen Milner OBE
Group Chief Executive
Helen Milner OBE is the Group Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation. Founded as a staff-led mutual charity in the UK in 2011, Helen led the establishment of a subsidiary charity, opening an office in Sydney in August 2017, and running the Be Connected Network for the Australian Government.
Helen has over 30 years experience of working in and leading organisations creating and delivering education over and about the internet. She was awarded an OBE for services to digital inclusion in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2017, she won the title of Digital Leader of the Year (UK) and was named by Computer Weekly as the 14th most influential person in UK IT in 2020. Working with British Parliament, Helen was a member of the Speaker's Commission for Digital Democracy and an Advisor on Digital Engagement to the Public Accounts Committee. She is a Board Member of FutureDotNow, a member of the Minister’s Digital Skills Partnership Board, and is on the Adult Advisory Group for MaPS (the UK’s Money and Pension Service).