If the year up to April 2012 has been a busy one, the coming year certainly looks set to top it. Three new funded programmes started running on 1 April 2012, including two Specialist Networks to support those with a disability, or who are out of work, to find the specialist help and support they need to get online.
Community Capacity Builders become Community Hubs, as part of a £1.1 million programme where centres will drive and measure social change in communities using technology as a key tool.
This year will see only about 5% of our network receiving funding from us centrally, and so the decision had to be taken to support the hardest to reach groups. This means the benefits of non-grant based opportunities will become more important to our network than ever before, as we help centres to become sustainable, long term organisations. We will continue to search out funding opportunities that we can share with our centres, and will launch an Innovation Fund of small grants that can be used to support one-off projects within the network.
The Go ON website will continue to grow, with the launch of Tutorzone in 2012. Tutorzone is a dedicated area for people working with internet beginners, to allow them to share resources that have worked with them, including session plans, handy hints and top websites. As well as sharing resources, tutors will be able to rate the site’s content, providing a truly user-sourced bank of content. This will broaden the website's audience group, and further embed the website's collaborative nature by ensuring everyone working in the digital skills arena can contribute, share and help it grow.
We will continue to support capacity building in communities, and will launch a new web service - Community How To - which will help grassroots community organisations to work smarter, using online tools to support their community work. We will also be running a new training programme designed especially for community organisations and their staff and volunteers, supporting community development and the delivery of digital skills. On top of this, we will launch our Level 3 Award in Community Development, a nationally recognised qualification which will help community leaders to learn - and do - more.
We will work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and Government Digital Service to do all we can to ensure people can benefit from new online services, as well as continuing to drive transactions online, making huge cost savings for government and helping people to benefit from access to the wider web.
Most importantly, over the next year we will strive to become a sustainable social enterprise, continuing to support our network, as well as communities and individuals who want to improve their lives through technology.