2023 Impact Report

Charities Supported in the Financial Year 2022/23

Charities Supported

The Access Foundation not only gives charities money to increase service provision to close the digital divide, we also give away free reconditioned laptops to organisations and have partnered with Vodafone to give away free SIM cards with 40g of data each month for 6 months.

This allows those who are economically disadvantaged to get online and access key services such as Universal Credit, utility companies, job searches and book appointments. For example, Staying Put, a refuge in Yorkshire for those fleeing domestic violence, give away the SIM cards to women who leave the refuge as they embark on a new life to allow them greater independence without the cost burden.

Reconditioned laptops for the delivery of training

Reconditioned laptops are given to organisations running training programmes which allow them to free up funds for delivery of training instead of hardware. Trans Pride in Brighton were recipients of 12 laptops which will be used for training programmes for Trans people in Brighton to learn new skills and loaned out so they are able to take on paid employment where a personal laptop is needed and for some, start up their own start up enterprise.

Home Instead Charity

The cost of living crisis has meant many older people are struggling to keep warm, in addition to feeling isolated and left behind in an increasingly digital world. Home Instead Charities run Companionship Cafes run by volunteers. There are 3 cafes operating with 10 more to start very soon. These cafes give older people a warm space and the chance to attend drop-in sessions to learn how to use technology. So far, the cafés have taught attendees how to keep in touch with loved ones, research hobbies and browse the internet. Future lessons will include watching documentaries online, online quizzes and craft patterns.

Codebar

The Access Foundation is keen to see more people from underrepresented backgrounds enter the tech sector. Codebar is a charity that works to improve levels of participation in the tech sector of women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, and people belonging to underrepresented ethnic groups. For students who cannot afford formal training through coding bootcamps or university degrees, coaches and organisers from big tech companies donate their time and expertise to teach workshops online and in person. While the cost of this expertise is free, the cost of the administrative costs of these workshops rely on donations. The grant from the Access Foundation has meant that the cost of running workshops for 4 months is fully funded, enabling even more people who face high barriers to participation access this vital learning experience.

Aspire

Patients undergoing rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital for spinal injuries often need adapted technology to allow them to access the internet to catch up with friends and family, study, work or simply watch the news. These small comforts are key in helping those undergoing often intensive treatment have some semblance of normality and ward of isolation and depression.

The grant from The Access Foundation meant that this vital service and the support around this is secured for one year, along with a donation of 3 refurbished laptops for key workers who are employed by Aspire and support this project.

Harmony Youth

Harmony Youth Project supports young people in the Bolton area and has done so for over 20 years through creative workshops and recently have designed a digital programme to enable young people have access to technology who otherwise would not because of financial hardship. The digital programme teaches online socialising, safety and guidance on how to best use the internet.

The Access Foundation grant has given a lifeline and accessibility to youth who otherwise would struggle to be taught how to engage online safely and learn how use the laptops provided in managed environment with support readily available.

Age UK – Hammersmith and Fulham

Digital inclusion is very important to The Access Foundation and why the Bridging the Digital Divide Pillar exists. Age UK Hammersmith and Fulham have a digital service that offers one-to-one and group digital skills training at our Activity Centre, one-to-one sessions at our charity shop, group outreach sessions and some one-to-one support in people’s homes. In addition to this, they operate a tablet loan scheme and give away devices and data whenever we have them. The Access Foundation recognised this invaluable service to residents in Hammersmith and Fulham and awarded a grant to further extend this service. To do this, Age UK Hammersmith and Fulham will use the money to employ an Outreach Worker to serve other parts of the borough currently with a demand for this support. They will visit community groups, charities, sheltered housing and other locations to enable older people to get online. They will also support our volunteers to provide at home digital support for those who are housebound or struggle to get out.

AutismAble

AutismAble’s mission is simple: "to enable, empower and enrich" and our vision is “A fulfilling life for all autistic people.”

The Access Foundation were hugely impressed with the work Austism Able were doing to support autistic people in the South Tyneside with practical skills which will help them to lead lives where they will reach their full potential through the pursuit of hobbies and employment opportunities and to do so with confidence.

A digital course called Digitally You was commenced with funding from The Access Foundation to support 52 people with autism and their families and is a space where neuro divergent people can be supported in participating safely online and develop themselves, learn practical skills and help the wider community be more accepting of neurodiversity.

Mind In Harrow

Mental health services are facing increasing pressure and charities like Mind are important in providing practical emotional support for those who need it. The Access Foundation was pleased to gift 14 refurbished laptops to Mind in Harrow and a small grant to cover the upkeep to support the Stepping Stones programme.

Middlesex Association For The Blind

People with sight loss should not have to experience digital exclusion and technology has advanced in such a way that this is mitigated by the use of voice activation software. This allows people with sight loss a measure of independence from socialising online and being able to carry out tasks such as online shopping and banking.

The Access Foundation recognises that with such technology there needs to be a dedicated support mechanism and as such awarded a grant to fund a Travelling IT Project that moves around 9 London boroughs helping people with sight loss get online in their own home. They use whatever devices a service user has to hand and assists with connectivity, getting online with apps, setting up an email address and whatever else is needed for beneficiaries to feel confident and independent.

Birkbeck University of London

Birkbeck, University of London and the Access Foundation have launched a career development programme to build a pathway into digital careers for those less advantaged backgrounds and underrepresented in the tech sector. The statistics are encouraging, of the 328 students who have participated, 53% are the first in their family to go to University, 40% were eligible for free school meals and 63% are from Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic groups. A placement programme with tech firms, as well as career workshops led by industry professionals, were hugely popular with students and gave them the confidence that they will be successful upon graduation in landing a job in the digital sector.

Meet Our Staff Ambassadors Team

The Staff-Sponsored Charity Pillar of the Access Foundation gives Access Group staff the opportunity to give to charities that have impacted them, their families or a close friend. Our Ambassadors Team is volunteer led by Tim Needham, Els Hol-Forman, Steve Berridge and Tracy Kerridge.

Access Group staff members are encouraged to contact the team on ambassadors@theaccessgroupfoundation.com to discuss a charitable donation in the region of £5000.

Tim Needham

Els Hol-Forman

Steve Berridge

Tracy Kerridge

Staff-Sponsored Charity Initiative

In the 2022/2023 financial year we approved a total of 30 grants benefitting approximately 10,000 people. It is heartening to see so many Access Group staff members giving back in their free time to organisations in their community who make such a difference in the lives of others. Below are a few examples of the types of charities that have benefitted from the Staff Sponsored Charity initiative.

Suicide&Co

The Access Foundation recognises the importance of getting bespoke help when dealing with a bereavement by suicide. Suicide&Co provide access to a safe space where those affected can work through this grief with trained counsellors. The Access Group Foundation gave a grant that will give 139 sessions of counselling, one on one support across England and Wales - Individuals who are bereaved by suicide are at greater risk of negative outcomes after their loss, including mental illness, impaired social functioning and fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviours. Therapy and talking to a trained professional about the personal experience of the suicide of a loved one and unravelling their grief can alleviate these future negative outcomes, having a positive effect on the individuals that we are able to help.

Oddballs

The Access Foundation supports Oddballs University Ambassador Programme, specifically our Loughborough and Glasgow University Ambassadors.

The main responsibility of our University Ambassadors is to organise educational awareness talks at schools, colleges, universities, within the workplace, and to other organisations. Our OddBalls talks focus on raising awareness of Testicular Cancer, breaking down the stigma associated with people talking openly about their testicles and encouraging people to check themselves regularly. The grant from the Access Foundation will mean hundreds of men gain access to this vital information and take action.

Superpeople

Superpeople is a charity that run projects and create film to showcase how disabled and non-disabled people can work together to create social change. At the end of 2020, they started the The Achieve Project and with help from Disability Rights UK, worked with over 70+ students from Arts University Bournemouth in 2021 & 2022, who were tasked with creating self-promotion products to help multiple young adults with additional needs to find employment. The Access Foundation want to reduce the barriers to employment and gave a grant to continue the work the Achieve Project is doing to enable this.

Kent Enterprise Trust

Kent Enterprise Trust has been serving the needs of residents since 1984 in employability, mental and physical health, skills development. One of the ways in which the Kent Enterprise Trust does this is through the Social Job Club. This programme has been running for 10 years and helps to get the unemployed into employment, gain qualifications, meet new people, make friends. This in turn leads to more self-confidence. The Access Foundation have awarded a grant to support this as well as donated refurbished laptops for service delivery.

Opens Hands Leicester

Giving Back is an important tenant of the Access Group and Open Hands Leicester is an organisation that has benefitted from the gift of time from Access Group employees. The space occupied by Open Hands was fit for purpose with the exception that it did not have a lift, excluding disabled and elderly people from fully benefitting from all the centre has to offer. The Access Foundation has made a contribution to the installation of a lift to allow people to visit and access the centre with dignity and ease.

Mammakind

The Access Foundation has awarded a grant to MammaKind, a charity that helps teenage mums to have a positive start to motherhood by giving them wellbeing packs any woman would be delighted to share with her baby.

Teen mums are often isolated and many report feeling judged. This can result in mistrust towards the services there to help them. These packs will be an incentive for young women to complete a six- week course led by midwives within the NHS that arms them with the skills and knowledge to look after their themselves and their baby, from childbirth through to parenthood.

The project will give 150 marginalised young women the opportunity to experience support from both MammaKind and NHS midwives, which will act as a gateway to further support.

Bookmark Reading

8 children in an average primary school class leave school unable to read well. The Access Foundation is funding the delivery of 351 online one-to-one Bookmark reading sessions, designed to improve children’s reading skills, confidence and enjoyment to help them meet the expected standard this summer term.

The Access Foundation’s grant is funding 175.5 hours of additional reading support for children and will gift young readers valuable extra learning time to positively influence their future.

St Giles Hospice

The Access Foundation gave away grant money to several hospices this financial year due to Access Group staff being personally affected by the care given to loved ones in the final stages of terminal illness. St Giles Hospice purchased a bladder scanner for our Hospice at Home service and the delivery of specialist palliative and end of life care for patients in their own homes. Having access to a bladder scanner means patients who are experiencing pain can get a quick diagnosis and be prescribed medication and pain relief much sooner.

Fur Clemt

Fur Clemt saves food that would ordinarily be consigned to landfill and makes it available to the local community providing a lifeline to those in need as well as offering baby classes, domestic violence drop-in sessions and wellness services. The Access Foundation gave a grant of £5000 to increase the wrap around service Fur Clemt offer. The extra funds will furnish a gym and hairdressing studio as well as provide advice and support for diabetic service users.

Active Independence

Active Independence is a Disabled persons charity based in Doncaster that supports disabled people and families in South Yorkshire. Many are struggling in the cost of living crisis and some require extra help to ensure they are getting all they are entitled to. The Access Foundation has given a grant to pay for an advocacy support service to help people get the benefits they are entitled to, apply for a Blue Badge or get the care, help support or equipment they need to improve their independence and quality of life.

Stonewall

The Access Foundation was pleased to give a grant to Stonewall to support the production of three short films that will be used to deliver training to educational staff across England, Scotland and Wales. The aim of this online training is to improve the tools, knowledge and confidence of educational professionals to better support LGBTQ+ children and young people and make their settings more LGBTQ+ inclusive. These films will reach approximately 1000 teachers and youth professionals who engage with 750,000 children and young people annually.