Who are the 29 grantholders the Digital Fund is funding?

Phoebe Tickell
Dec 18, 2019 · 19 min read

This is a post to introduce you in more detail to our 29 grantholders — and begin to see some of the patterns and connections in the Digital Fund ecosystem. Spoiler alert: there’s a map!

To read an introduction to the Digital Fund, please the article Introducing the Digital Fund — and a different way of funding digital before you read this one, which will provide some useful context.


With 29 grantholders, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. I’ve created a map using the great mapping and sensemaking tool Kumu which I can really recommend to anyone taking a systemic approach to their work. You can access the map by clicking through the link below and signing up for a simple profile (you just need an email address and password) and you should be able to click through the different elements and filter using different types of information.

Over the next few months, I will be adding more information and filters to the map which will allow us to visualise things like the size of charities, the elements of their projects, and the nature of their collaborations with each other, and potentially other organisations too. I hope this can become a useful resource for other funders moving forward and perhaps further the field of ecosystemic funding which we are interested in testing out here.

Visualising strand one and strand two

Screenshot of the grantholder ecosystem —the interactive map can be found in Kumu.

Visualising the grantholder and support partner ecosystem

Screenshot of the grantholder and support partner ecosystem — find the interactive map in Kumu.

Location

We also included three England based charities (Lancashire Women’s Centre, Bath and Northeast Somerset Carers’ Centre and NCVO), Family Lives which also has offices in Wales, two Scottish charities (Aberlour and Children 1st), a Welsh charity (Cyfannol Women’s Aid), and one from Northern Ireland (Children’s Law Centre).


Strand one charities

Each of them are using different starting points for this journey, and the destination for many is unknown — this kind of change takes time, involves lots of stopping doing things, pivots, realignments etc, and is hard to predict. The summaries may list tangible things like new services or redesigning existing ones, but these are often the trojan horses for much more fundamental change — they are rehearsal spaces for new mindsets, behaviours and cultures to be normalised.

All strand one charities have committed to sharing their solutions and learning with the wider sector in an “open source” approach.


Focus: Children

Aberlour (Scotland)

Aberlour recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work.

Children’s Society (UK wide)

TCS is being funded on its 2017–2020 digital strategy. There are two areas of focus:

Design and development: this will embed digital principles and participation across TCS to advance understanding of user need, service design, putting young people at the centre of user research, using iterative processes, co-design, and embedding digital standards, skills and capabilities into their work.

The second focus area is systemic collaboration and partnership. This work will involve a test-and-learn approach that seeks to surface and resolve the impediments to partnership working, e.g. barriers to data-sharing, digital working, and co-design across organisations, alongside sharing wider learning about workforce and systems change with the sector.

Children 1st (Scotland)

Children 1st recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. This is initially being done through their Parentline.

Children’s Law Centre (Northern Ireland)

CLC recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. The work will start through developing a free, easy-to-use digital information service that can be accessed 24/7, privately and anonymously to inform young people of their rights.

Make-a-Wish UK (UK wide)

Make a Wish wants to completely transform the way in which they deliver their services, transferring power, decision making, and ownership of children’s wishes to the community of which they are part, and also scaling to be able to meet increasing demands of sick children’s wishes.


Notes on the children’s charities


Family

Family Lives

Project: Family Lives recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. This is initially being done through fundamentally rethinking the way that families search for and receive support.

Relate

Relate recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. Some of the questions Relate is asking are: How do you digitize a therapeutic workforce? How do you normalize some of the ways technology can be useful? Having previously been an organisation focusing solely on service delivery, Relate is expanding to see itself as an influencer and educator on relationships and therefore change the customer journey.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. Cruse is starting this by developing practical, digital self-help content to help people access support on demand, and save more expensive face-to-face support for those who need it most. Part of this will also be reducing variation between local centres and increasing their reach.


Carers

BANES Carers’ Centre

BANES Carers’ Centre recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. They will start this work by developing a universal 24/7 support service.

BANES recognises care is a huge issue: there are not enough people to provide care for the people who need it. They are working to bring care and the community closer together and help communities take better care of each other.

Grandparents Plus

Grandparents Plus recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. Like many of the other strand one organisations above, Grandparents Plus has in mind a digitally enabled platform which would be available to a range of stakeholders, including key referral groups such as Citizens Advice (another strand one grantholder).


Women

Lancashire Women’s Centre

After extensive user research, LWC has identified making better use of digital as a key way to meet its mission, and will be using funding to extend its services and approach to better support women. This includes in pre-crisis stage, through better navigation of their services, opportunities for self-help, ownership and ongoing support.

Cyfannol Women’s Aid

Cyfannol Women’s Aid recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. Their aim is to remove barriers to women and children accessing their services, and due to their particular geographical context of being primarily rurally based, this presents specific challenges to work with.


Mental Health

Addaction

Addaction recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work.

Part of this is shifting the balance of power in services from staff and commissioners to local communities and individuals shaping their own experience, recovery and support. Addaction has already taken major steps along this journey — such as hiring a digital trustee, appointing new staff with experience in transitioning a large service delivery organisation to improve impact via digital transformation, and a year of formal and informal research with people using their services — and this funding allows them to continue moving forward.

Samaritans

They will use strand one funding to modernise and digitise their volunteer recruitment and training pipeline to ensure more capacity for training more volunteers, expanding services to offer an online self-help tool for those who may not be able to use the telephone, and supporting wider organisational change. This will include volunteer training and upskilling to support the organisation’s change.


Health

Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson’s UK recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. The work will start with the development of a new service model which reaches people at the point of diagnosis and supports them throughout their lives.

British Tinnitus Association

The organisation recognises the need to completely redesign their offer, moving from information on a website to the delivery of responsive and personalised services. In doing this, the organisation will be able to reach more people who suffer from tinnitus and better serve their needs.


Support

National Council for Voluntary Organisations

NCVO recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. NCVO’s goal is to scale its impact in a sustainable way by supporting more organisations to self-serv digital services that allow them to find and purchase useful resources in an almost friction-free digital process.


Law

Law Centres Network

Law Centres Network recognises that to meet the new needs, expectations and behaviours of the people whose lives they are trying to improve means redesigning how they deliver their services, putting good user-centred design practice at the heart of what they do, making better use of data and evidence and fundamentally changing how they work. At the heart of what they are doing is to use digital tools to respond to technology changing society and raising expectations, as well as changing the behaviour of the people using their services in how they interact with them.

Citizens Advice

While CA has already invested a lot in digital in order to better meet user needs, this strand one funding is going towards the development of an incubator network to test, scale and embed new approaches and ways of working across CA. This will also help solve some of the challenges of being a federated network — e.g. how to make decisions and coordinate with a networked model where there is one central office, and many bureaus. Their challenge is to work out how to work well as a network and create a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Strand two charities

Children

Best Beginnings

The strand two funding is going towards redeveloping and updating the Baby Buddy app to match updated user expectations and needs and improve things like the data architecture and upgrading the platform. Since the launch of the app in 2014 there has been positive evidence showing the impact and wide use of the app.


Mental Health

Mental Health Innovations

They have applied to us for strand two funding to support the development and scaling of the Shout platform which is the UK’s first 24/7 text message based support platform for people in crisis. This will scale Shout to more people and to more charities who will be able to white label the platform to use themselves.


Older People

GoodGym

The strand two grant will be used to expand its already growing community and scale up the platform. They will use a co-design approach to design and develop a platform that will scale exponentially and offer a world-class digital experience for its users without proportional staff and costs. The aim of this project is for GoodGym to move from 50,000 volunteer hours in 2019 to 250,000 in 2022, by way of working with runners, walkers and partner organisations to expand both the volunteer base and the range of opportunities.

Wag and Company

All aspects of the organisation’s service delivery are managed online and the service has expanded rapidly since its small pilot in 2016. Funding is being used to build upon and adapt the organisations digital infrastructure so that the digital service can be self-sustaining.


Carers

Carefree

This strand two funding will be used to scale up the current beta product to become a service that can grow exponentially over time — optimising the service in line with user testing and data-driven development.


Sex workers

National Ugly Mugs

National Ugly Mugs was granted funding to scale up a care and safety platform for sex workers and extend digital services that enable sex workers to report violence as it happens, and to create new and enhanced features on the organisation’s platform. This includes an app used for dissemination of alerts that also provides a searchable database for geo-specific support and amenities.


Sexual Health

SH:24

This strand two funding is to further develop and scale the successful SH:24 Discuss forum which currently supports nearly 50,000 users to independently manage their sexual health.


Food

Open Food Network

Strand two funding is being used to scale the platform and do three things: develop OFN’s user base via community building and developing the platform to meet the needs of the community, develop onboarding experiences that allow faster and better supported onboarding, and remove barriers in the usability of OFN.


Mental Health

Grassroots Suicide Prevention

In 2014, GSP created an app called Staying Alive which has now been downloaded over 100,000 times across the UK. The app provides a resource of suicide prevention resources — e.g. self-help methods, crisis phone numbers, etc. GSP is using the strand two funding to scale the app and target hard-to-reach groups, and bring external digital expertise inside the organisation.


Don’t forget, the exciting thing is to see this cohort as an ecosystem, and over the course of the next year, I will be adding to this map as connections grow, resources and solutions are shared, and projects develop. Over the course of next year, I will be hosting events and publishing more blogposts on what we are learning at the Digital Fund, alongside those of my brilliant colleagues, Melissa Ray, Beth Bell and Cassie Robinson.

If you are interested in what we are doing or finding out more about our approach and attending any of our events, please reach out at Phoebe.Tickell@TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.

The Digital Fund

Learning & Insight from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Digital Fund team.

Phoebe Tickell

Written by

Genetic engineer turned decentralized network evangelist. Member at #Enspiral. Fellow at #NewspeakHouse. Cofounder #FutureFarmLab and #TechForHumanity.

The Digital Fund

Learning & Insight from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Digital Fund team.

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