Funded by the Big Lottery, Tinder Foundation is leading the Reboot UK pilot to test innovative new models of supporting people in poverty to improve their health and wellbeing through digital technology.
The 12 month programme, which began in September 2015, targets three key audience groups – families in poverty, homeless people and people with mental health issues. These groups are far more likely to make up some of the 12.6 million people in the UK who aren’t online and don’t have basic digital skills, and are also at greater risk of poor health.
Consortium partners Mind, Homeless Link and Family Fund, are working with Tinder Foundation and 21 local community partners to research and develop pilot interventions targeting these audiences, and create tailored resources and models which can then be replicated on a wider scale.
The first phase of Reboot UK ended in November, with a full report detailing our new understanding of the barriers and drivers faced by these marginalised groups. Learnings have also been tracked in blogs and reports from all key partners. This year we’re testing approaches and learning methodologies, focussing on peer support, home access and shared practice – working holistically with key intermediaries.
So far, hundreds of people have already been supported to use digital technologies to improve their health and wellbeing, and we’re looking forward to bringing the final findings and intervention architecture together in a final project report this Autumn.
He explains: “I was going through a difficult part of my life, you know, I was living with girlfriends and then living with brothers and then living on couches and then living on park benches and in cars, and it was just getting worse and worse. One day when I went back to my Mum’s, again, she just said, “No, you can’t stay.” I think they call it tough love. It hurt. They just wanted me to sort myself out, but I didn’t know where to start.”
Luckily, Owen found support from Evolve Housing, who are part of Tinder Foundation’s Reboot UK project, where he was assigned a key worker, Gamel.
It took Owen a while to settle in at the hostel, and at first he kept himself to himself. But Gamel soon persuaded him to get involved in the activities, including Evolve’s new peer-run computer classes.
“I’d used the computers but I was going on Facebook, YouTube, just recreational stuff, killing time,” explains Owen. “Then one day I thought, ‘You know what? I need to sort my CV out’. I’ve not worked in years but it was like I was just ready. I felt good enough and better enough and settled enough to start looking for work.
“I was looking for something part time, because I didn’t want to get deep into work and then realise it’s a bit too much and then go all the way back again to where I was. I wanted to build it up.
“I knew about these websites and stuff to look for jobs but not how to use them, and I didn’t have anything like a CV to send out. So the tutor, she got me to gather together all my qualifications and put them on the computer. At the same time the IT classes were going on and I was finding out things I didn’t know you could do on a computer, like attaching documents to your email and things like that.”
Owen started job hunting online, too, applying for 10-15 jobs a week. He says: “I got feedback from quite a lot, and then all of a sudden, bang, I’m getting interviews – people actually want to see me, which I’ve never had in my life!
“The next thing I know I’ve got Amazon want to interview me, and Network Rail. I flew the interviews – at Amazon they gave me a little question sheet and I got every question right. My confidence had built up being at Evolve so I knew how to carry myself, I wasn’t as scared as before. I got both jobs! I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe this’. I’ve gone from no job for years to getting two in a week.
“Now everyone’s talking to me again. People are phoning me, and my Mum, she’s so proud of me. I don’t think she thought I could turn myself around, you know? She speaks very highly of Evolve and everything they’ve done for me. She said to me, “You need to give something back, they’ve given you so much, you need to give something back. So when Gamel suggested I become a customer rep – like the guy on the front desk that first day – I decided to do it.”
Now Owen is a customer rep at Evolve and a peer mentor in Evolve’s computer classes. He’s also working 16 hours a week, and he’s finally got his own place in a block of flats in New Addington. He’s keeping himself busy decorating, sorting his bills out, getting to know the neighbours and working.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now – I wouldn’t have done even a quarter of it – without Evolve. Without Gamel helping me, being so positive, believing in me. Without the computer centre, and the shelter, and all of that. I’ve come from sleeping on park benches to my own place, my own job. And I’m pretty happy with that – in fact I’m over the moon. I owe everyone there a really big thank you.”
We awarded funding to centres with specialist experience in order to provide tailored support for four groups:
At the end of the project over 4,300 learners had been supported to become confident users of HMRC services, including child benefits and working tax credits.
We were absolutely delighted to learn that the project has been extended to 2019, aiming to support a further 28,520 people, with an increased focus on digital skills and transactions. Digital technology will be embedded into the programme with beneficiaries being upskilled to use HMRC’s digital services independently.
Money My Way aims to help the hardest to reach individuals develop financial and digital literacy skills to help them self-manage their finances.
There are approximately 8.8 million over-indebted people in the UK and 83% of these people do not seek advice. Of this 8.8 million, almost 4 million are low-waged or benefit-dependent, often facing financial hardship with low levels of financial literacy.
To combat this, Tinder Foundation has curated a programme of digital content with which to target people living in 5 areas of high indebtedness in England – parts of Hull, Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Developed in partnership with UK online centres network partners as well as Citizens Advice and Money Advice Service, Money My Way provides an easy-to-digest learning programme for the most disadvantaged consumers who, with little or no digital skills, lack the confidence to manage their finances online independently.
We’re proud to say that between 2015 and 2016, the UK online centres network – including 15 funded Money My Way community partners – has supported over 10,000 individuals and their families to manage their money independently, and escape financial exclusion.