Digital Society Network and SIID-DDI-sponsored seminar from The School of Education.
James Richardson, Tom French & Alice Mathers, Good Things Foundation (formerly Tinder Foundation)


We are living through a new industrial age, the age of digital transformation and discovery. This has far reaching economic and social impacts on how we live, work, interact with others and develop as a society. If all UK citizens had basic digital skills, benefits to individuals and society (including increased productivity) would contribute over £14 billion to UK economy by 2025. However 12.6 million people in the UK lack Basic Digital Skills, with many of the country’smost excluded people still unable to reap the benefits of digital due to barriers related to ‘income, education, age, geography and disability status.’ It is our mission at Good Things Foundation to change this.

Based in Sheffield, Good Things Foundation is one of the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion organisations. Since 2010, we have helped over 2 million people in the UK to improve their lives through digital. With a broad portfolio of partners, funding and projects, we are currently involved in delivering programmes of digital inclusion, digital health, financial capability and ESOL; we work with and provide specialist support to groups including older people, disabled people, jobseekers, homeless people, people with mental health problems, and isolated BAME women.

We are a research-led organisation, carrying out evaluation of major projects independently and in partnership, as well as innovating through pilot programmes to seed new social interventions aimed at engaging severely excluded people. To ensure there is a deep understanding of the impact of our work, we are driven by a commitment to embedding and sharing robust research and evaluation findings from both our national programmes and targeted projects, so that we and others can address the key barriers to digital inclusion of skills, access, and motivation.

In this seminar we will:

  • Give an overview of our strategic approach to making impact happen and how we’re evolving to do this;
  • Show how today’s current social challenges are informing our approach to working with different population;
  • Use key programmes and projects from our portfolio to demonstrate how taking a research-led approach helps us to plan and deliver them, including academic collaborations;
  • Explore our use of external and internal data sets to describe the contextual landscape within which we work; demonstrate our impact; and build practical models to guide our activities and those of our existing/potential partners.
  • Invite discussion as to how research collaborations between Sheffield University and Good Things Foundation could inform innovative social interventions.