2022 Impact Report

How our grants impact different areas across the UK

UK Impact

In the UK as part of its inaugural year, The Access Foundation was able to award grants to various charities, institutions and community projects.

Education Institutes & Universities

Loughborough University – Loughborough - £120,000

The Access Foundation approved a grant to fund an annual intake of Scholarship students, for the next three years. These scholarships will be for students who wish to study courses in Computer Science and IT Management for Business.

Disadvantaged young people struggle to progress to university, even when they have the academic ability to do so. Education is a route out of poverty and a key driver of social mobility, but access to education is not equal.

Despite 20% of children in the UK coming from low-income backgrounds, only 3% go on to attend the selective, top tier universities like Loughborough.

By supporting this project at Loughborough University, we are contributing to levelling the playing field for young people to change the rest of their lives.

Aston University – Birmingham - £120,000

The Access Foundation approved a grant to fund an annual intake of Scholarship students for the next three years. These scholarships will be for students who wish to study courses in Computer Science, Computer Science with Business and Cybersecurity.

Aston will provide scholarships funded through The Access Foundation to provide support to undergraduate students from a disadvantaged background who would otherwise face significant financial challenges. The scholarships are intended to enable the recipient to fully participate in university life without being restricted by financial worries for the duration of their degree.

By supporting this project at Aston University, we are contributing to levelling the playing field for young people to change the rest of their lives.

Loughborough University – Loughborough - £153,112

The Access Foundation has approved a grant to fund the creation of a ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ project to increase the chances of disadvantaged 11-18 year olds in achieving their potential through digital enablement.

The new project will identify and support a cohort of year 11 students from disadvantaged families each year and support them through their next stage of education using digital technologies and platforms, all the way to post 18 options.

The project will work in combination with the University’s LUDUS Gold Scheme, which helps students from all backgrounds discover the opportunity for university education to reach their full potential.

The Virtual School - Hertford - 50 laptops

The Access Foundation approved a grant to provide an initial batch of 50 refurbished laptops and 50 prepaid sim cards to The Virtual School, based in Hertfordshire.

The Virtual School is an initiative within Hertfordshire County Council to bring focus and attention to children and young people in care and enhance their opportunities for education, support, and improved life outcomes. The organisation has recently extended their reach to children not yet in care but known to social workers so they can provide interventions where applicable and increase their opportunities.

The provision of laptops to The Virtual School is the first example of an ongoing partnership between The Access Foundation and Softcat Plc to refurbish and recycle IT equipment from The Access Group and supply it to organisations helping to bridge the digital divide.

Birkbeck University - London - £282,910

The Access Foundation has approved a grant to fund a brand-new digital careers programme, focused on combatting inequality of access to careers in tech. The approach will consist of 3 pillars. A career bootcamp supporting 150 students in applying for jobs in tech with CV workshops and networking events. Online training and certification to get relevant skills and thirdly, paid internships for students within SME’s and established firms to build real world experience.

Charities & Community Interest

The Big League – Hartlepool - £28,995

The Big League CIC in Hartlepool is in an area with high levels of deprivation and The Access Foundation awarded a grant to make space within a community hub a digital suite for those who are experiencing digital exclusion and lacking in digital confidence. This has proved to be a success. The space is used by other community organisations that address the root causes of poverty and supports individual members of the community.

‘Poolie Time Exchange’ as it is known is proving incredibly popular with service users and local organisations as a one stop shop for everything from debt management advice to venue hire.

DWRM Consultants – Coventry - £27,000

DWRM’s Director and former prisoner turned academic, Dan Whyte started this charity to improve the life chances of those who spent time in prison and uses his own institutional knowledge to support inmates on their journey.

The prisons that DWRM are working in are across the north of England and use technology to break the cycle of incarceration by giving people in prison the chance to do distance learning university level courses using laptops and tablets funded by The Access Foundation.

The outcomes are yet to be fully realised, however an interim report from DWRM Consultants demonstrated high levels of engagement with a 68.6% pass rate which given the circumstances is very encouraging. To improve on these figures, DWRM will be offering more training on how to use Chromebooks effectively as that was seen as a barrier to achievement.

Centrepoint - Sunderland - £74,769

The Access Foundation approved a grant to fund the creation of a digital skills programme for the benefit of homeless and disadvantaged young people in the Northeast of England.

The aim of the grant is to support the rollout of a complementary programme with Centrepoint to help their young people attain the Essential Digital Skills Qualification (EDSQ). This is a recognised accredited qualification which enables young people to achieve up to date and relevant skills. It gives young people with limited or no IT experience the confidence to perform tasks online, improving their overall employment prospects. The Access Foundation also supplied 10 refurbished laptops kindly donated by the Access Group to Centrepoint.

DEC Ukraine - £20,000

The Access Foundation approved a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to support the ongoing efforts to help people affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

The Access Foundation had combined with The Access Group in providing an overall donation of £70,000 to the DEC. The Access Foundation was able to approve the donation under its ‘Staff-sponsored Charities’ objective through the request of a Ukrainian member of staff with close family affected by the crisis.

4Louis - Manchester - £3,500

4Louis is a staff sponsored charity that works with midwives who work directly with families who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.

4Louis held a bereavement forum in September 2022 in Manchester to offer support and advice to midwives. The agenda covered a wide range of topics such as midwives supporting each other when dealing with bereavement issues, the emotional impact on service providers and the Black Maternity Experience.

The grant from The Access Foundation paid for goody bags, refreshments and room hire.

Mustard Tree – Manchester - £43,000

The Access Foundation approved a grant to deliver a digital education programme to help disadvantaged and homeless people in the Northwest of England gain the confidence and skills to help them break out of poverty and seek opportunities in the job market. The difference The Access Foundation grant has made is immense. 1,615 people have met with a Support Worker, 114 have had the chance to go to Job Club and 74 have been on the Computer Confidence course in 3 months alone.

PANDAS Foundation – Oswestry - £5,000

PANDAS is a community offering peer-to-peer support for families affected by antenatal and postnatal mental health issues. The Access Foundation funded 3 months of the phone line service and in this period, 935 calls were placed to this phone line from parents, carers, and their networks. Awareness saves lives and the number of calls received by PANDAS in one quarter shows how much this service is needed.

Projects & Digital Divide

Mentor Ring - Newport - £25,025

The Access Foundation approved a grant to fund the ‘Digitally Active’ project to to break the cycle of poverty, social isolation, and poor Health & Well-being in the Newport/Cardiff area. The Mentor Ring working in collaboration with the Welsh Government, hold group sessions to build up confidence and skills in a supportive setting and also offer one to one tutoring to those who need it.

Berkshire Vision - Reading - £26,637

The Access Foundation agreed to fund a project aimed at improving digital skills of visually impaired adults in the Berkshire area.

The award funded an Equipment and Resource Officer and Tech Buddies to engage with over 300 people with individualised support. The key objectives were to promote independence, confidence and reduce isolation.

Youth on the Move – London - £3,550 + 20 laptops

The Access Foundation approved a grant to fund the provision of IT equipment for a digital education course for young people teaching fundamental computer skills.

Youth on the Move is a registered charity based in Hackney, London, created to help underprivileged, disadvantaged and socially isolated young people from BAME communities. The charity offers a wide range of services to help these young people to break free from the vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, and low aspirations.

The computer skills course provided by the charity ensures that young people can walk away with the basic skills needed to work on computers in various jobs, as well as improving their confidence and self-esteem.

IT Skills Africa DigiBus - Gloucester - £25,000

The Digi-Bus in Gloucestershire is a mobile digital inclusion unit that travels around the surrounding areas offering IT Training and IT facilities to communities. Service users come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, and to date there have been over 1,700 visitors to the bus. Digi-Bus is a volunteer lead organisation that reduces digital inequality and visits already established community hubs like libraries and community centres for extra visibility and interaction.

Staying Put – Leeds - £1,750 + 12 Laptops

Staying Put based in Yorkshire where service users have been victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse or witnessed it. The grant and laptops given to Staying Put by The Access Foundation have meant delivery of IT and ESOL courses, CV workshops allowing service users the ability to regain independence and access vital services like housing and benefits. Children can restart studies and reconnect with friends they lost due to being forced to move. The laptops also allow them much needed fun playing games online.

Learning With Parents - Bristol - £58,292

Learning with Parents works to close the gap in educational achievement faced by disadvantaged families and has been further exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdown. The development of an app that allows parents easier engagement with homework and learning is key to reducing inequality between social economic groups and raise the confidence of parents and children alike.

Digital confidence in families and early intervention leads to greater social mobility.

In November and December there will be hands-on testing of this feature and the pilot will begin in January.