Top challenges facing charities and community organizations in England

Social inclusion is a topical issue in many arenas – many organisations are also participating to enable capability for all amidst technology-adoption maturity.

Recent investigations through the UK’s flagship Online Centres Network highlights 6 topical issues facing charities and community organisations as they tackle social inclusion.

I am particularly drawn to the investigation in discussion due to its similarities to my organisation’s experience at Southwark’s Brandon Estate.

What is Online Centres Network?

OCN tackles the most pressing social issues of our time by working with partners in thousands of communities across the UK and Australia.

The cohort of 5000+ charities and community organisations is brought together by Good Things Foundation.

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity that supports people and the organisation that supports them people to improve their live, through digital.

Since 2010 the social change charity has supported over 1.4 million people to improve their lives through OCN, using digital.


To efficiently deliver resources for the network, GTF conducted a research to get a snapshot of the most pressing issues affecting Online Centres in Sheffield.


The research used data from fifty-seven (57) Online Centres Network based in Sheffield. The data presented below reflects the findings from more recent national Get Online Week 2018/19.

The top 6 challenges highlighted by Online Centres in Sheffield are:

  1. Mental health – particularly men over 25
  2. Loneliness and isolation – across all demographics but with a particular focus on those aged over 50
  3. Unemployment – particularly in the 16-35 age group
  4. Community-centred activities for (young) people
  5. Support with business development
  6. Sustainable funding to tackle all of the above efficiently

Final Word

The research was conducted in order to learn, shape our strategy and better respond to needs. Currently, 11.3 million adults in the UK lack one or more of the basic digital skills, and 7.4 million have some skills but are considered limited users of the internet. 5.3 million out of the 11.3 million has ‘never used the internet’, 47% of which are are over aged over 75, despite over 75s making up just 7.78% of the total UK population.

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Looking beyond the box-office: What it means to be an enchanted geographer

Geography plays a crucial role in understanding our world. It makes a vital contribution to our knowledge of the rapidly changing political, economical, social, technological, legal, environmental landscape. Geographers were among the first scientists to sound the alarm that human-induced changes to the environment were beginning to threaten life at a global scale.

What is geography?

noun: geography

  1. the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and resources and political and economic activities.
  2. the nature and relative arrangement of places and physical features.
  3. a geographical area; a region, space, place.
  4. the people. the cultures.

What it means to be an enchanted geographer (see Tara Woodyer and Hilary Geoghegan 2014)

Enchantment in geography is championed by Dr Tara Woodyer at the University of Portsmouth in England.

Enchantment as object of study enables geographers to develop new ways that allow for experimentation with, and reporting on, alternate worlds and possibilities. (see Geoghegan Hilary and Tara Woodyer 2013)

The box office fallacy: Why Enchantment?

The rate of scientific and technological innovations and achievements has transformed the way we do virtually everything.

Due to the connectivity and phase of innovation and change, it’s impractical to track proceedings from a box office.

Lets face it, the box office behind the walls of a higher education will not suffice for the connectivity and needs of community engagement and education in the near future.

Current state of academic research and reporting (see Linda Kaye 2019)

According to Dr Kaye, here, not all academic research fulfils its potential in reaching relevant stakeholders, user-groups or beneficiaries.

For example, President Trump talks about climate change and academic community starts running around as if the world is about to come to an end.

According to Dr Kaye, the main barrier for this is that academics do not always have the time or in some cases, the inclination or skills to find ways of communicating their research in accessible ways to non-academic audiences. This is a missed opportunity, particularly when considering that the primary purpose of academic research is often to inform and support areas of society which are largely outside the academic sphere.

Being enchanted is about opening up and not closing down geographical endeavour. It involves a positive energy and an attention to the exploration of alternate worlds and possibilities for academic research and reporting.

An enchanted cultural geographer:

1. appreciates the small and seemingly irrelevant;

2. continually redefines what is considered to be serious;

3. will use the seemingly trivial to track larger issues;

4. retain a curiosity and inquisitiveness for the world;

5. brings enchantment to all engagement across the life-course;

6. continually seek creative ways of reporting and community engagement.

Geography is about learning how to understand the links between disciplines, and using those links to develop new, world-changing innovations.

It is the study of the Earth’s people, environments, and landscapes and unique in that it bridges the social sciences and natural sciences. The driving theme for geographical research and reporting is one of space and place and people. This make geographers interdisciplinary innovators with an important role in addressing major challenges facing academia and our world.

My Chapters for “Learning, Education and Games 3: 100 Games to Use in the Classroom & Beyond,” VR, and Game Localization.

Out this year! 100 Games for the classroom and beyond: Learning, Education, and Games. Vol 3. 100 academic authors. Over 150 Women in Gaming cited.

Simone Bregni, Ph.D.

I just submitted revisions of my two chapters and one co-edited chapter for Learning, Education and Games 3: 100 Games to Use in the Classroom & Beyond.

The games I covered are:

  • Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed – The Series (co-edited chapter with Gabriele Aroni, Ph.D., Ryerson University, and Heidi McDonald, iThrive Games);
  • Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider; and
  • Tequila Works’ The Invisible Hours VR.

I am seriously disappointed that I will not be able to utilize the excellent The Invisible Hours VR in my Intensive Italian for Gamerscourse at SLU next spring because it is not localized in Italian.

As I wrote in my chapter:

The narrative and writing, the complexity of the characters, the emphasis on observation and logic rather than “active” gaming and the theatrical-quality acting, all contribute to making this game ideal for numerous courses (from senior year of high-school to college…

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Bridging The Digital Divide on Brandon Estate

“…Although Government and other organisations are prioritising digital inclusion, we know more can be done, and more quickly, with greater commitment and by working in partnership across sectors…”

— Good Things Foundation

Bridging The Digital Divide calls on Government and other organisations to commit to helping us get everyone in the UK online by 2028. Bridging The Digital Divide is championed by Good Things Foundation through Online Centres Network.

If you are new to Online Centres Network you can learn about the social movement here. If you are new to Good Things Foundation, formerly Tinder Foundation, learn more about the organisation here.

In 2018, I joined organisations such as Google, Barclays, Leeds City Council to pledge to bridge England’s digital divide by 2028. In the article, I reflect on the pledge, the milestones and the next steps. That is: (1) What we’ve done; (2) Why we did it; (3) How we did it; (4) And the result/s.

My Pledge

1. Social media support for #BridgingTheDigitalDivide

You can join the movement too with these three simple steps below:

1. Join Online Centres Network;

2. Register your organization at Find My Charity to highlight your organization on the radar (London-based charities and organizations only);

3. Request to join the campaign with this link.

2. Support with External Communication

  1. VoiceBox Cafes: Giving Women a voice in public life and politics;
  2. Get Online Week 2018 at Brandon Estate;
  3. Why SiLL/CiL may be a game changer for London libraries.

4. Project Digital Brandon – “A Brandon where everyone benefits from digital”

Where are we?

My first official act as member of the UK’s flagship Online is Get Online Week at Brandon Library on Brandon Estate Please read the open report here.

There have been no reported teen-knife incidents on the estate this year. Though, there was a stabbing involving adults on the first day of the year. Still, an excellent collective achievement by local organizations, local people, and our honourable emergency and social services.

As it currently stands, all the idle facilities at Brandon Estate have been occupied, there are now three main learning centres at Brandon Estate: (1) Brandon Library (2) Latin American disabled people’s project Jack Hobbs Club (South American and Spanish speaking locals); (3) Rachel Leigh.

Final Word

There’s £21.9 billion economic benefit from providing everyone in the UK with the essential digital skills they need by 2028. A value of £15 for every £1 invested, and a Net Present Value NPV of £21.9 billion.

We can only realise the benefits by working together. 

Thank you for taking the time to read!

More About Brandon Estate

Guide to event marketing and promotion at Brandon Estate

Event marketing is the communication and methods of communication employed to promote of an event or activity. Event marketing should not be confused with Event Management: The process of organising and delivering events.

Event Marketing’s focus is primarily to convey a message, often place, location, and benefit, to the right people, at the right or at a time of opportunity. An event can be to build stronger relationships in the community, Universal Credit webinars, play-day or outdoor classroom for local children, or a live-streamed video-game-play. Events can be held online, offline, or both.

In the article, I’ve extracted and gathered a list of free and effective ideas for you to try for your local events in Southwark this year.

Some Critical Success Factors (CSF) to consider:

  1. The purpose of your event 
  2. The scope of your event
  3. The location of your event
  4. Space and people 
  5. How will the event be promoted?
  6. Does the event require a Budget?
  7. Security and safety of volunteers and attendees

How to get the best out of your event’s marketing

  1. Find My Charity: Firstly, register your Charity/CIO with “Find My Charity” to get on the radar. FMC is a NEW depository for Southwark helping people find fun and support in their local community. The Community Interest Organisation exist to ensure that all fun, fitness, and enterprising community-based events are in one place, open, and accessible to the right people, and at the right time. It’s FREE to join Find My Charity.
  2. Your Website: Your website is your door to the entire world, if you have one, then add a pop-up advert to your website. Together, your website and Pop-up Ad are efficient partners for developing listings, engaging prospects, and for any email marketing in the future. If you don’t have one, why not start exploring with a FREE website from Google Sites (Great if you already own a gmail account) or WordPress.
  3. Word of Mouth: Naturally, you want as many people as possible to know about your event and the inherent benefits of participating. Word of Mouth is still one of the best tools for reaching people. Research shows that 64%of experts believe that WOM is the most effective marketing strategy, while 92% of consumers trust recommendations that come from people they know.
  4. Local Networks and Press: Search, investigate and contact your local press and journalists who frequently write about you community and/or topic. You can also involve you local councillors in community-based events. Locate your local councillors on your local council’s website or ask at your local library. For Brandon Estate, Katherine Johnson of Southwark News is passionate about citizenship and community development in and around Brandon. The local councillors for Brandon Estate are: Councillor Eleanor Kerslake; Councillor James Coldwell; and Councillor Alice Mcdonald. Kindly ask for a quote or ask them to tweet about your event.
  5. Posters and Flyers: Offline is still very much as important as the online counterpart. When used correctly, offline posters and flyers can catch the eyes of people and make them aware of a product or service that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. This powerful ability to stick in people’s minds can have huge advantages for your event. They are cheaper, visual, support scaled targeting, and encourage active participation. Just one thing, endeavour to remove your posters and flyers after your event’s expiry or end date, if applicable.
  6. Social Media: Social media is particularly effective for marketing and networking. Through mediums such as Facebook and Instagram you can both network and promote the theme of your event. When you carefully and deliberately mix the page and group features on social media you have a powerful networking, engagement, and marketing tool at your disposal. For example, Facebook: Facebook Page is open to the everyone – while a Facebook Group provides distinct space and a medium to engage customers. A FB Group empowers community development and reinforce local networks and Press.
  7. LinkedIn: There are mixed opinions about what you should and should not use LinkedIn for. Personally, I don’t see why you can’t employ LinkedIn to promote your events to your connections, and for further interest networking. If you do not want to affect sensibilities, create a page on LinkedIn for your events.
  8. Eventbrite: The web-based platform allows you to browse, create, and promote local events. The service charges a fee to event organisers in exchange for online ticketing services – unless the event is free. Eventbrite is state of art and it is easy to use. One of main and profound features of Eventbrite lays in the processes – Eventbrite let’s you concentrate on the other elements important for your event while it caters for your ticketing.
  9. Southwark’s event page: Southwark council has its own advertising platform for Charities and Community Interest Organisations. It is FREE, intuitive, and easy to use. You can also visit the Southwark employee page on the council’s website to identify like-minded council employees. Ask them if they’ll like to promote your shared passion in the borough – ask for a quote or tweet.
  10. Community Southwark: CS is a cohort of local charities in Southwark. Submit blog articles promoting your event to Community Southwark to be noticed by charities in Southwark. You can also get access to local volunteers through the organisation’s Community Action Network.
  11. Hashtag: Finally, create a unique hashtag for your event that will be shared with posts and updates across all your marketing channels. The hashtag should be short and simple and easy to recollect. Use your hashtag: before; during; and after your event. An example of Hashtag for a continuing event called find my Event could be: #FindMyEvent. Lear more about Hashtags on Twitter.

Bonus! Google: Google is great if you have a Gmail account and you’re familiar with Google Apps. However, there is really not much need for PPCM (Pay Per Click Marketing) for small community events, except, you are charging for the event. If that’s the case, you will also have to factor in the costs and returns for your campaign. Consult with an expert before employing paid Google products for your local events. While Google sites are perfect for small businesses and Charities, Google Ads are more suited to large companies and profit making endeavours.

Related articles

  1. Acid and substance attacks: How to react in an emergency
  2. Get Online Week at Brandon library: Open report
  3. I/We need help with digital skills: Locate your nearest online centre
  4. Office desks and Hall for Hire Southwark’s Community Brandon
  5. Eventbrite’s 2019 Guide to event marketing

Why SiLL may be a game changer for London libraries

In recent years, our local libraries have been subject to closure and large cuts, this at a time when we should actually be upgrading them. This unusual form of democracy undoubtedly birth related-innovations such as co-working space and social hubs. While many of these related-innovation are timely and necessary, they lack the community and political ingredient required for emerging fluid and digital society. For me, this is the simple reason why the local and community library remains an inextricable part of the puzzle.

As citizen institutions, I believe libraries have a gluing role in sustainable developments, and as such, they are essential for integration and cohesion. Being a fan and advocate of the library, it’s quite the excitement to learn that London libraries are introducing a NEW SiLL programme.

SiLL is a three-year project will include tailored workshops, networking events giving local people and businesses access to the Library’s business collections and resources. A feat epitomised by Online Centres Network through Get Online Week celebrations at Brandon Estate in London.

In this article, I share some inherent social-economic benefits of the SiLL programme. To reinforce my lens, I revisit 2018’s Get Online Week celebrations at Brandon Estate.

What is SiLL?

SiLL stands for Startup in London Library. SiLL is a business support programme led by London Libraries to support start-ups and entrepreneurs across London. The programme aims to help local people and charities develop the insight, skills and confidence they need to start and grow successful businesses. 

For scale, SiLL will be delivered through, and by, a network of 10 London borough authorities with each London borough having its own SiLL Digital Champion. The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

3 benefits of the programme for Online Centres Networks

Despite austerity cuts and closures, libraries continue to deliver citizen-centred innovative community solutions at local levels that contribute to both local and national economic growth – as epitomised through Online Centres Network. As founder of an Online Centre myself, I’m pleased about the development, and convinced it will improve my centre’s abilities and capacity by removing the 3 barriers below.

  1. Organisational structure

In my first article in 2018 I highlighted the slowing impact organisational structure has on sustainable change and transformation.

NEW SiLL has no direct reports, this inherently adds some agility and fluidity to a rigid structure. Instead, SiLL champions will report directly to the Principal Strategy Officer on the Local Economy Team. 

2. Integration and cohesion

A lot of work has been done in the UK on improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society. Many inclusion-based initiatives have either:

1. empowered poor and marginalised people to take advantage of rising opportunities in emerging forms of economies;


2. developed ready-made open, ubiquitous and accessible spaces through strategic partnerships. 

SiLL has arrived at a time when many charities and community organisation’s source partnerships with local council for practical and sustainable scalability.

3. Future workforce and economy

Libraries can’t be ignored any longer. My research and fieldwork at IFB Gaming identifies the library as an important and often ignored asset for identifying and engaging the most digitally excluded. 

For instance, IFB Gaming’s online centre partnered with “Find My Charity” and “Southwark libraries” in 2018 to employ the Brandon library’s resources to help local people with digital skills. However, when we arrived at the library, we learned that local people’s need was different – it wasn’t basic digital skills. At Online Centres Network we’ve also manifested the libraries vitality for continued political ‘education and engagement’. This through innovations such as VoiceBox Cafes.

Personally, I’m keen to see how SiLL can:

  1. intersect with higher education institutions to educate and empower the next generation of community advocates and politicians;
  2. improve project selection.

Final word

At IFB Gaming, we work on a day-to-day basis with lots of great community organisations, including libraries, and citizens. 

Following our report, Good Things Foundation is now developing new business development courses for Online Centres Network. The project is supported by organisations such as BT, Lloyds, Google, and the Government’s Equalities Office.

Personally, I’m confident that SiLL will be a powerful example of the role digital can play in addressing social challenges and Bridging The Digital Divide. We look forward to working with the SiLL champions at IFB Gaming’s online centre in Southwark.

VoiceBox Café: Giving Women a voice in politics and public life

Good Things Foundation was recently awarded one of eight grants to deliver NEW “Use Your Voice” through VoiceBox Cafés in England. The project is funded by Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme, it is part of Bridging The Digital Divide, and it exists to give Women a voice in politics and public life. In the article, I introduce project “Use Your Voice” and examine it’s inextricability from social inclusion. 

2018 has been particularly plagued with uncertainty, this year: we Brexit-ed; witnessed austerity cuts; gaming is classified as a mental health disorder; there was gang-related violence on London streets; and uncertainty surrounding the future of the NHS leaves us with many unknown-unknowns. Let’s face it, we simply don’t know what living, working, doing business, and playing, is going to be like in the future.

One thing we do know though, Women are at the forefront, and they are leading the debates and discussions around sustainable developments and they’re doing so with profound results. To celebrate Women’s achievements in 2018, we unite at the House of Lords this December for NEW “Use Your Voice” (VoiceBox Cafés) pioneered by Good Things Foundation. 


Imaged shared by Emily Redmond & Harriet Brown (Good Things Foundation)


What are VoiceBox Cafés?

Project “Use Your Voice” is delivered through NEW VoiceBox Cafés. It is one of the many ways Good Things Foundation promote and mitigate digital inclusion in England. The project is part of Bridging The Digital Divide programme and it focuses on Women and community advocacy and politics. According to Helen Milner, CEO Good Things Foundation and ‘pioneer’ of “Use Your Voice”:


“…It’s been 100 years since women won the right to vote and we’re going out to engage those who are disengaged from democracy across England with the NEW VoiceBox Café project…”

— Helen Milner OBE.


The project is delivered through regular events designed to access, engage and support excluded women to understand, participate and celebrate democracy. There are currently 36 online centres in the UK participating in project “Use Your Voice”.


VoiceBox Café is a fantastic project providing women with an opportunity to learn about incredible women, be inspired to do amazing things and be empowered to challenge the norms.” 

— Go Alliance Women. West Midlands, UK.


From VOIP to VoiceBox Cafes

Consider a multiplayer online game of Call of Duty or Battlefield 3 with up to 24 player voices blearing through your one headset. VoiceBox Cafés provides a systemic conduit for Women to make their voice heard. This is quite significant, as observed through my virtual ethnography in gaming paradigm, some Women:

  1. simply can’t perceive their voices getting through the traffic;
  2. are intimidated by the confidence, status, and the achievements of other players;
  3. are not loud enough to cut through the traffic;
  4. simply do not know how to join the traffic;
  5. hide their true identity behind voice-changers and avatars in order to make their voice profound and/or to avoid negativity.

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol

Project “Use Your Voice”, through VoiceBox Cafés at online centres network, can provide a holistic and circular conduit for educating, engaging and inspiring Women and Girls in future-politics and emerging fluid and digital society. VoiceBox Cafés: 

  1. provide a secure and open space for political discussions and debate;
  2. offer free courses and guidance on democracy;
  3. celebrates and rewards Women and Girls for community and political participation.


Who Can Get Involved?

Single medium of communication breed weak-ties while multiple mediums of communication cultivate stronger bonds and ties. As we approach technology-adoption maturity, many Women are turning to new and traditional media for the issues that matter to them. This is why every Woman and Girl in England can join and participate in “Use Your Voice”  through their local or closest VoiceBox Café

Research has also shown that the women who often have the most to gain are the ones that are missing out on the inherent opportunities and benefits of participation. Consider Helen Milner’s commentary, below:

“…there are certain groups of women who are less likely to engage with democracy, in particular women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, young women, and women with low levels of educational attainment…” (See Full text on Good Things Foundation’s Website)

Corroborating our NEW experience and opportunities, below:

…we participated and celebrated Get Online Week at Southwark’s Brandon Estate’s library for the first time in 2018. During the 7-day campaign we set out to help local people and charities with basic digital skills, but instead, we met local Women who required help with business development or how to employ digital skills efficiently in every day-life or having their voices heard following a summer of violence in the sector….


Sandra Evans. Founder and CEO of Find My Charity.


How it works

There are many ways to get involve. Women in England can become more politically active and make their voices heard through Online Centres Network participating the project. Good Things Foundation’s website also boasts resources and website links to help Women get involved both locally and nationally. The resources section is separated into 3 core sections: EducateParticipate and Celebrate

The Educate section explains elections and voting, and shows how women fought for the right to vote in the UK. The Educate section explains elections and voting, and shows how women fought for the right to vote in the UK. The Participate section shows how you can make a change about things that matter to you.

The Celebrate section has ideas about how you can get involved in events and activities marking 100 years since women got the vote. Finally, Share! Share your findings, progression, and achievements with the network by visiting Voicebox Cafes pageVoicebox Cafés Tumblr and by following #VoiceboxCafes on Twitter!


Get Online Week at Brandon Estate. Access Open Report.


Some Challenges To Consider

Social inclusion and Memory are functionally similar. Like social inclusion, the art of remembering requires different, yet, connected parts, to come together in a timely fashion to deliver a recall request. If 1 or more part/s arrive late, perhaps due to pain, intoxication or excitement, the individual simply forgets.

In Helen Milner’s commentary here, she emphasise the challenges involved in accessing black Women – a feat successfully achieved during 2018’s Get Online Week – opening NEW access for integration and continued participation.

As Natalie Thrope (Good Things Foundation) points out, “to shape a future that works for everyone we all need to be involved in the political debate”. So, instead of speculations and assumptions, and considering the open, ubiquitous, and connected foundations of the project, I conclude with 3 ideas for consideration:

  1. Can the project benefit from digital-champion and female mentoring?
  2. Does it have a role beyond politics and for entrepreneurship, local economy and everyday life?
  3. Can it inspire and develop the next generation of female politicians and community advocates?

The Voicebox Cafés programme is funded by the Government Equalities Office through the Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme. Find out more about the Voicebox Cafés project 


Digital skills for older learners

People, over the age of 65, those on low incomes, and disabled people make up a large segment of the population who remain digitally excluded. These groups are unable to fully benefit from the vast opportunities that the internet and technology manifests.

Today, I am particularly interested in the ‘people over 65’ above, and to bring my focus to light, I revisit investigations conducted by Good Things Foundation, BT, and Talk Talk.

The investigation in context involved 23 Online Centres who were tasked new activities in order to reach people who are the most digitally excluded in the UK. They found that: “47% of people who have never used the internet in the UK are over 75, despite over 75s making up just 7.78% of the total UK population”

But, Why do older people avoid technology?


Tutor-Learner Relationship for Older People

1. Competence.

Learners admire open, competent, and knowledgeable teachers and educators. The fear, mistrust, and disinterest that some older learners display around the internet can be an outward reflection of what is actually a mistrust in their own abilities. Older people can suffer from a perception that their age means they will be less successful at learning. This may be compounded by previous negative learning experiences throughout the life-course.

A competent educator is empathetic, and he/she seizes every opportunity to encourage learning, believing that no one is above learning. Competent educators are lifelong learners and they take every opportunity to improve their own professional practice, in order to provide quality learning.

2. Space & Trust.

Trust, space and respect are three important components of the learning environment. A lack of trust and respect can cause learners to feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the environment and the educator. In many cases, failure to develop spaces that nurture trust and respect may lead to certain, negative, behavioural anomalies.

Digital inclusion with older people should focus as much on a tutor’s relationship with the individual as on hard technical skills. Take time to build trust with a learner. This is likely to take a significant amount of one-to-one interaction, so if you are working in a classroom setting, try to enlist some volunteers in other to facilitate personalization and encourage individual interaction.

3. Patience.

The Internet defines patience as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Older learners might take a longer time to become confident in understanding a task or process. Naturally, as we get older, we are more cautious and we tend to check for risks more often.

Ensure that you explain every step clearly and double-check and confirm that the learner understands before moving onto a next step. Be empathetic and patient, and be prepared to repeat messages and information, over and over again.

Get the full toolkit for old people here

Tablets during these uncertain times: Yay or Nay?

Love them or hate them, a new tablet is on many people’s mind during these uncertain times. However, along with the purchase of a new tablet inevitably comes the guilt of giving your children more “screen time”. Now, before the guilt sets in let me clear up some of the misperceptions that many parents have about tablets and screen time.

Syping with Grandma, playing games, and watching YouTube can all be valuable ways for your children to spend time in front of the screen. In particular, playing games has been associated with improved cognitive skills such as creative thinking, hand-eye coordination, and multi-tasking. Watching YouTube at a young age may even help them speak faster and have a larger vocabulary through modelling.

…and we all know there is no way we are going to make it through the lockdown without Skyping or Facetiming Grandma.

At the end of the day, the best guidelines for screen time use are common sense ones:

  1. It should not be your child’s only leisure activity
  2. It should not interfere with their obligations and responsibilities (if it is, then they are using it too much)
  3. Having electronic devices of any kind is a privilege not a right (this is a particularly important point when it comes to regulating use among teenagers!)

So, go ahead and buy that tablet for your little one. While you are at it, why not also pick up a copy of  A Parent’s Guide to Video Games! This book draws from over 100 scientific studies to address the specific topics that parents have the most concern about in relation to media effects, such as addiction, aggression, and its impact on physical and mental health. And while the book focuses on games specifically, a lot of the information presented in the book can be generalized to various kinds of screen use.

Games for them. Peace of mind for you. Continued-communication with grandparents during school closure and community lockdown. That sounds like a win to me!!


RACHEL KOWERT is a research psychologist from Austin, Texas, with a PhD in psychology from the University of York (UK) and an MA in counseling psychology from Santa Clara University. Dr. Kowert has dedicated her career to studying video games and the gamers who love them. She has published several books on this topic, including the award winning “A Parent’s Guide to Video Games”. As a researcher, psychologist, gamer and parent, she strives to educate other parents about the potential dangers and unique contributions that video games can bring to our everyday lives.

Get Online Week at Brandon Estate: After Campaign Report

Yay! we participated in Get Online week at Brandon Estate !!

What is Get Online week?

It’s a week set-aside by UK charities to reinvigorate out collective commitment to tackling social exclusion and integration in England. The campaign was birth in 2006/07 and championed by Good Things Foundation.

Why we participated in Get Online Week

Get Online week is tradition

As the founder of a UK Online Centre (IFB Gaming), part of the Online Centres Network, set up by Good Things Foundation to tackle social exclusion and integration in England, Get Online Week is traditional and an integral arena of our digital and social exclusion strategy.

Since inception in 2006/07, the campaign has helped over 2.4 million people with basic or intermediate digital skills. That said, the campaign has not been able to penetrate Southwark areas of London.

2018. The first time a national event such as Get Online Week is witnessed in and around Southwark’s Brandon Estate.

Increasing social and learning divide

New research commissioned by Good Things Foundation reveals the extent of digital exclusion in South East London. There is no one reason for the increase, most importantly, there is a disconnection between the spheres due to technology-adoption maturity. Many people are excluded, both socially and digitally, due to the increasing disconnect.

2018. Get Online Week reveals the true extent of digital and social exclusion in Southwark’s Brandon Estate. Important critical factors that may have contributed to the manifestation of knife and gang-related violence earlier in the year.

Tech-adoption-maturity, that is, the point in human evolution when technology becomes an integral part of daily life.

6 pillars of digital society by John Adewole

Reconciliation following a summer of violence in London

A series of tragic murders rocked London the estate in 2018. Up-to 40% of the homicides and eventual arrests occurred at Brandon Estate. The most discussed include:

the death of seventeen-year-old Rhyhiem Barton, and his friend 23-year-old Sidique Kamara who was stabbed to death on the same road – Warham Street – where Rhyhiem was found… and 17-year-old girls stabbed to death at Camberwell during the World cup.

2018. Get Online Week at Brandon estate united IFB Gaming with Brandon library and it ran concurrently with local reconciliation campaigns. There were balloons, new courses were introduced to the local library, and local people were able to get together to talk about the events of the summer.

Reed the open report here.

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Kunle Afolabi (IFB Gaming)