Over £1.3 million awarded to 20 charities to transform their digital services through Tech for Good

Published: 2 June 2021 
Woman wearing a black and white polka dot top with jeans types on a laptop that's on her lap.

Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation have awarded 20 organisations over £1.3 million in grants through their Build’ fund – part of their joint Tech for Good programme. 

This new digital development fund will support them to strengthen their services in light of the continued impact of Covid-19.

The programme will offer grants of up to £70,000 over a nine-month period between June 2021 and February 2022, giving organisations the chance to explore new approaches to improve people’s lives, alongside access to technical support from experts and advisors at CAST (Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology).

Successful projects include a digital tool to support victims of online abuse; technology to support young people who are homeless; a mobile game app for young people that will use interactive storytelling to destigmatise discussing mental health; and a chatbot to offer specialist advice to disabled and older people with social care needs.

The new Build’ fund supports non-profits to define, develop or re-purpose digital tools, platforms and products that meet a social need or challenge. Tech for Good was originally developed in response to the need for charities to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services. But the Covid-19 pandemic has urgently increased the need for organisations to explore how digital and design capabilities can help transform or maximise their work in supporting vulnerable people. As such, there was a large number of applications for the funding with over 361 applications highlighting the high demand for digital-specific support.

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: Over the last year, so many organisations have transformed the way they work to continue to provide vital support amidst unprecedented challenges. As we begin to think about building back, digital development has a critical role to play. We hope that Build will provide these projects with time and space to experiment, to learn from one another and to realise effective digital solutions to help meet pressing social needs. Together with Comic Relief and CAST, we look forward to learning alongside those we support and sharing their work.”

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said: It’s fantastic that 20 organisations who provide key services for people ranging from domestic abuse to homelessness will be able to transform the digital development of their services. During the pandemic online services have become more important than ever in helping charities continue to provide help to people most in need. I look forward to seeing how each organisation will use digital, design, and data in new ways to increase their impact.”

Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Comic Relief are committed to sharing the journey of these projects and the ideas they generate so that others can learn from their experiences. Visit the Tech for Good Hub for further information and resources.