Managing the UK online centres network is where Tinder Foundation started out - and is still where the majority of our time is spent. The network was originally set up by government in 1999, and in 2005 we took over running it to provide people with basic digital skills. Today, the network is made up of 3,000 Centre partners, and 2,000 Access Points that bring digital inclusion to the heart of communities.
With 12.6 million people in the UK lacking basic digital skills and 5.9 million who have never been online before, the work of UK online centres at a grassroots level is vital in closing the digital divide.
Every UK online centre is different, with some operating in libraries, community venues and leisure centres as well as some in more unusual locations like pubs, cafes and mosques. What they have in common is their commitment to digital inclusion, and helping the hardest to reach develop their digital skills. 85% of people supported through the UK online centres network meet one or more indicators of social deprivation. The support of the network has a real impact on individuals, with 88% of learners coming through the network having improved self-confidence, 66% experiencing employment progression and 74% progressing to further learning.
At Tinder Foundation, we provide grant funding, training, marketing, learning products and advocacy to centres within the UK online centres network, and each centre has their own dedicated contact at Tinder HQ who provides help and support on a regular basis. The funding we receive from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is also channeled into the network in grants to support specific programmes of digital inclusion activity.