Moving from one new year to another, with new funding streams, new centres joining the network, and new prospects, certainly feels a lot different this year from last year - in a very good way! Things have changed not only in the digital landscape, but also within our own organisation.
Around this time last year we learnt that UK online centres would be floated free of its parent company to make its own way in the world - something that had been on the horizon for quite some time. We traversed some rocky waters, bidding competitively to take over the organisation, and in November finally reached our destination when we learned that Online Centres Foundation - the organisation we'd set up - had been successful in its bid and UK online centres would come under its helm.
While the run up to establishing ourselves as an independent body was busy, it was nothing compared to what has followed. A mutualisation, appointing a board of fantastic directors, publishing a new strategy and successfully applying for new and exciting funding streams were all squeezed into the last five months of the year as we operated for the first time as Online Centres Foundation.
The highlights of what we have achieved so far as a mutual, and in the lead up to mutualisation, are too numerous to count. This review shares a small number of them with you, as well as setting out our exciting plans for the future as we diversify what we do, working in communities to inspire change through technology, and helping organisations and government to prepare for the shift to digital so everyone can take advantage of the huge benefits technology can provide.
Supporting digital skills remains important for us, and the next twelve months will be crucial to making a real impact. This year not only will we aim to help those who have never used computers and the internet before, but we will also shift our focus to supporting people who want to improve their skills, so they can take full advantage of all the benefits the internet can provide.
Chief Executive, Online Centres Foundation