Life at Tinder Foundation is certainly never dull, but over the last 12 months there’s been an unprecedented amount of change.

We’ve put a new strategy in place which focuses our work on key social challenges, and how we can help to address them through digital technologies. We’ve not been ‘just’ a digital inclusion organisation for some time – we’re a social inclusion organisation working through digital means. By structuring our approach on the audiences and issues we aim to support, we’ve clarified those goals and built new momentum for our work.

In line with that shift, 2015-16 has seen Tinder Foundation make the transition to become a registered charity, while maintaining our mutual structure and ethos – something only a handful of organisations have achieved to date. Our principles have always been ‘charitable’, but now we have more opportunity to more effectively influence social change and expand our reach. We had to prove to the Charitable Commission that we were a mutual not for our own interest but for the public good, and that although every member of staff makes a nominal £1 commitment, their real investment is in our social aims, and all profits are ploughed straight back into our work. We were delighted to receive the news our application had been successful, and emerged to spread our wings in the third sector in February.

At the same time, Tinder Foundation also moved into new offices, and we now live in a new building in the centre of Sheffield, next door to the Cathedral. We’re settling in and making the larger space our own, and it’s helped to have the whole team under one roof with room to meet, create and collaborate.

There’s been sad goodbyes to staff members moving on to pastures new, and we’ve welcomed lots of new faces too. Tinder Foundation has also been through something of a baby boom this year, with five new babies arriving, and two more on the way!

In the coming months we’re looking forward to more change – for instance to a brand new look Learn My Way, and more new arrivals – including exciting new projects and partnerships. If you’d like to work with us, please do get in touch:

I was pleased in early 2016 to hear we had been granted registered charity status by The Charity Commission. Becoming a charity is something we’ve long talked about at Tinder Foundation as it fits with our ethos of supporting people to improve their lives for the better, something we do on a daily basis together with our hard working network of community partners. While our ethos has always been charitable, it has had one distinct twist – with staff playing a key role in the organisation’s decision making through sitting on the board, and being Members of the organisation voting on all key decisions. For us, if we were to become a charity it was vital that we were able to retain our mutual status, as this really sums up what we stand for – that everyone’s opinion matters. And as Members (that’s all the staff and the rest of our Board), we’ve all voted to become a charity.

This is a really big deal, and I want to shout about it. Persuading the charity commission that we’re able to have paid employees on our Board, and persuading them that’s a good thing and will make for better decision making and better outcomes, was hard. But we’re always proud to be pushing the boundaries if that results in something that’s better.

The journey has been a long and challenging one, and I’d really like to thank the Members of Tinder Foundation who have led on this endeavour. There’s always more work to be done and becoming a charity was just another step in our mission to reach the 12.6 million socially excluded people without digital skills across the UK.

Helen Milner, Chief Executive

Our Bright Sparks staff recognition scheme continued this year, with a number of key staff members and teams recognised, including:

Craig Salisbury

Projects Team
Recognised for being consistently brilliant, organising events calmly and managing stakeholders effectively, as well as being reliable and expert.

The Office Move team

Recognised for making an event that could have been very stressful run smoothly – all the while keeping a smile on their faces!

Sam Taylor

Marketing & Communications Team
Recognised for going the extra mile, being calm organised and always positive – and getting stuck in to everything.

Rob Shapiro

Network Team

Recognised for always taking on new work to help out others without complaining, and getting on and doing a great job!