Digital Charity of the Year

The Charity Sector has been behind other sectors in embracing Digital Transformation despite the strong evidence of its benefits. This award is for charities or non-profit organisations who have in the last year demonstrated the transformative power of digital to change themselves or their services to their beneficiaries.

Sponsored by

Paisley YMCA

Scotland
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Paisley YMCA

Paisley YMCA is an accredited Investors in Young People organisation that has been supporting young people across Renfrewshire for 185 years. We aim to support and develop young people to reach their full potential through digitally based cultural and educational projects and programmes that develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

We have establish Renfrewshire’s first digital fabrication studio, a DIY environment where young people can gather to create, invent and learn using digital technology as a tool to build and design consumer products, creative art installations and fun engineering builds, using 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and engraver machines that encourage conception thinking in line with extra curriculum STEM subjects. The studio support young people age 16 and under to develop skills in product, art and engineering design that taps into a young persons creative side as an artists or maker within a youth incubation environment that develops young people as a small businesses or trade entrepreneur using technology to aid the Design, Manufacturing and selling process.

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SafeLives

London
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SafeLives

We are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine evidence from services, survivors and data to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop.

We believe that digital and tech can transform the lives of survivors and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

We are running a project with Vodafone to give survivors a device that looks like phone but that goes straight through to emergency services, with an app that collects evidence of abuse.

We are empowering services and survivors to improve their digital skills, to ensure they can use online social/platforms safely.

We have launched a digital community for people working to end domestic abuse. We know that people are struggling to find the resources, skills and time to support the 2 million people who experience domestic abuse every year. Our digital community allows them to share ideas, information and to support one another.

We recently ran a self-care series to support domestic abuse professionals who may be struggling with their own mental health.

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Lifelites

London
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Lifelites

Lifelites donates and maintains specialist packages of assistive and inclusive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children at every children’s hospice service in the British Isles. Many of these children have disabilities which make it very challenging for them to play, be creative, communicate and control something for themselves.

In 2017, as part of the assistive and inclusive technology that Lifelites provide to children and young people in hospices, Lifelites trialled a successful and innovative Virtual Reality (VR) experience for young people in children’s hospices. VR is the latest incarnation in the world of technology and personal entertainment. By wearing a headset, that covers eyes and ears, the user is transported to another world, immersed in alternative sounds and visions. VR has been used for a whole new type of video gaming but its potential reaches out far beyond that. For young people in children’s hospices, VR has the potential to immerse them in a world of make believe and experience things they might never be able to, such as riding a rollercoaster or swimming with dolphins. Over the first 6 months, an average of 3 young people per week used the VR technology. Young people aged 16-25, many of whom had conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DND), Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Ataxia. The pilot project feedback from the children’s hospice that trialled the VR equipment makes it clear that there are key social benefits for the young people using VR. These young people are able to escape the confines of their conditions, socialise with other young people as well as carers, play and enjoy exploring a virtual world. In this virtual world these young people can do things they simply are unable to do in the real world.

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SpecialEffect

South East
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SpecialEffect

SpecialEffect is the UK charity dedicated to helping people with all disabilities to play video games using cutting edge technology including eye control.

How to videos on how gamers with disabilities across the globe can play video games using specialist technology. Establishing a campaign called One Special Day that raised £446K from games companies donating revenue and awareness raising that included the likes of Kim Kardashian with over 50 million followers on Twitter spreading awareness. Remote skype support to help gamers with disabilities across the globe including helping a young man with a spinal injury in Brazil..

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Ada. National College for Digital Skills

London
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Ada. National College for Digital Skills

Ada, the National College for Digital Skills has a unique mission to work with employers to use digital skills to empower those least likely to benefit from the changes technology is causing in our economy and society, in particular women, BME students, and those from low income backgrounds.

In May 2017 we launched our higher/degree level apprenticeship programme developed and delivered in partnership with industry and aligned to our mission of increasing diversity and female representation in the tech sector. This collaborative approach to curriculum is groundbreaking in delivering the digital skills industry actually needs, and coupled with our mission we are actively changing the face of the tech sector. We’ve now had two cohorts of apprentices start with us in more than a dozen different companies from Google to Deloitte, and our programme is growing exponentially with another standard launching this year and plans for more every year. Together with our sixth form programme, we are now able to take a young person from a difficult background from the age of 16 all the way through to a great career in the digital sector while earning a salary, gaining work experience, completing a BSc degree, and with zero debt. 75% of UK businesses report a digital skills shortage; at the same time employability rates for graduates in computer science are very low and the number of people studying computer science is falling. The shortfall is more stark for women and those from low income backgrounds. Only 34 young women from low-income households in England studied A-level Computing in 2016. We are appraoching the problem in a different way, making sure education truly equips learners to take up digital roles and to empower those least likely to benefit from the changes technology is causing in our world.

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Wales Co-operative Centre

Wales
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Wales Co-operative Centre

Wales Co-operative Centre is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people in Wales to improve their lives and livelihoods. We help to create and retain wealth within our communities through the growth of co-operatives and social businesses and by providing people with the skills to take more control of their own lives.

The Wales Co-operative Centre delivers Digital Communities Wales (DCW). DCW is a digital inclusion programme reaching tens of thousands of people in every community of Wales. There are multiple, integrated strands to the work, including advice to organisations and training for staff working with the public. One innovative strand of activity is Digital Heroes, where young people volunteer to support older people who are falling further behind, as technology continues to expand into our lives. The Wales Co-operative Centre is working with a range of organisations to develop Digital Heroes, including schools, colleges, Police Cadets, Girl Guides and Scouts. We want to create a nation of Digital Heroes Digital Heroes is integrated into the Welsh curriculum. There is a Welsh Baccalaureate Community Challenge, which is a great way for those undertaking the Key Stage 4 and Advanced Qualification to develop and deliver activities in their community. Every Welsh Bacc student who gets involved in our challenge is trained to become a Digital Hero and receives a badge. Beyond digital inclusion, the Wales Co-operative Centre is the biggest champion for digital approaches in the third sector in Wales. For instance the Centre ran a series of varied digital workshops at the Welsh third sector’s annual gathering called Gofod 3 in March 2018. The Centre is about to launch a digital product called First Days, an online tool which helps organisations manage new volunteers from recruitment and induction to initial deployment.

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NPC

London
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NPC

Great tech for good has to be built on great user-centred research and design, as well as brilliant technology and knowledge of social issues. NPC is pioneering shared approaches to user-centred design, so that charities tackling a social issue can build on a shared understanding of user experience across all their work, rather than isolated pockets of user research around isolated products.

NPC has been working for the last year to map the lived experience of young people in Camden who face multiple disadvantage - living in poverty, insecure housing, struggling to progress into meaningful employment, and often with complex family situations and mental health issues.

Our aim has been to understand how technology can have the greatest positive impact in these young people's lives, and the answer has been that it can't just be tech products and services in isolation, within any one organisation's existing work.

In March we will be publishing an interactive visual map of young people's lived experience - a map that they co-created with us, in the form of a snakes and ladders map of steps towards progress, and crises and events that pull them back. Along with this, we'll be sharing a number of solution concepts, like a digital assistant for young people to help them navigate their own pathway, and calling for charities and digital agencies to come together with young people to prototype, test and develop these ideas.

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Art UK

London
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Art UK

Art UK's mission is to open up art in public collections for enjoyment, learning and research. We do this through digitising artworks, telling the stories behind the art and creating exciting opportunities for public interaction with art both online and offline. The Art UK platform is digital infrastructure shared by 3,250 public art collection venues across the UK. It allows them to showcase their art to the world. Most of those collections would not be able to show their art online without our help.

In 2017 we completed the funding and started work on a programme to digitise the nation's sculpture collection. The project will enable a substantial audience to discover the UK’s extraordinary collection of sculpture in public ownership; arguably the finest anywhere. Drawn from across the world, it provides insights into diverse cultures and is unequivocally a global collection. The programme will support public collections, most of which cannot provide online access to their sculpture. It will create valuable learning resources as well as volunteering and training opportunities. In total some 170,000 sculptures will be recorded and the programme will be completed in 2020.

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Age UK

London
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Age UK

Age UK is the country's largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. We campaign on ageing issues; support pioneering later life research; and provide frontline support, to over 5 million online, 250k through our national advice line, and in partnership with 140 local Age UKs.

Relaunched national and 140 local websites, improving support to 7.5million users and our teams.

Reinvented telephone befriending, already doubling its size, by digitally enabling every step - sign up, identity checks, training, matching friends, automating calls.

Developed our conversation app to help people explore improving their independence and create tailored action plans.

Launched a virtual assistant, helping >30,000 advice seekers. But the greatest impact for the greatest number was through delivering more benefit checks. We grew from 76,000 benefit checks in 16/17 to 187,000 in 17/18, with those entitled to benefits finding an average £3000/year!

Asmaa, Webcredible and Entitledto made benefits calculator twice as easy to complete: They tested with users; made it responsive; reduced text and jargon; introduced pre-filling of questions and progress bars; made results more actionable, enabled users to download and email them; and connected people to their local Age UK for more support.

Sean boosted benefits checking in all relevant journeys by advice seekers, developed motivating calls to action using AB testing, and created virtual assistant financial decision trees, driving many more to benefit check.

Matt and Amy developed social media campaigns targeting potential benefit checkers which delivered completed benefit checks at £1.50.

Alison and Alasdair piloted telephone benefits checking in our Advice line using the calculator.

Rajib surveyed >20,000 users, profiling their financial wellbeing to estimate how many should do benefits checks, helping us set aggressive 18/19 targets.

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Help Refugees

London
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Help Refugees

Help Refugees is the biggest facilitator of grassroots aid on the continent. We provide funding, support and volunteers on more than 80 project providing vital aid for refugees across Europe and the Middle East.

Help Refugees launched the world's first store where you can buy gifts for refugees on Black Friday, November 24th. By the end of the year, we had raised more than £500,000. The shop gave visitors the chance to buy items to support refugees on each stage of their journey:

Arrival (search & rescue, emergency blankets, child coats etc)

Shelter (tents, blankets, hats and gloves)

Future (education, accommodation, language dictionaries).

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