Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation announce grants totalling over £370,000 through the latest round of the Tech for Good Fund

A screenshot of a video from The Mix showing a boy texting

Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation have today announced the eight organisations to receive funding from the Tech for Good Fund. The 2019 round is the third time that the funders have joined forces to fund tech-based initiatives that have the power to accelerate positive social change. 

The Tech for Good programme was developed in response to the emerging need for charities to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services that help people, organisations and communities. As part of the programme, funded partners are offered a monetary award alongside access to support from experts and advisors, as well as the opportunity to collaborate and share learning with other teams.

The organisations will receive funding of between £24,115 - £51,500 for each project, giving them the chance to explore new approaches that seek to improve people’s lives. 

An intensive package of non-monetary support will also be provided, recognising that digital development is an area that relies on skills and expertise as well as funding for opportunities to be realised. This is designed to enable organisations to learn, develop their digital capacities in a new way and strengthen their work by developing viable and sustainable digital products.

Kicking off in August 2019, the projects will last for nine months. Each includes a two-month soft development phase, an intense four-month hard development phase, followed by a three-month launch phase.

The funders are also pleased to announce that the digital support agency for this cohort has been appointed following a competitive tender process. A consortium application from CAST, Snook, Founders and Coders, and Doteveryone has been selected to undertake this work; the consortium will provide digital mentoring support, advice as well as mutual learning opportunities for the cohort of organisations funded through the initiative.

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation commented:
“The latest round of grants continues to demonstrate the power of tech to find new ways to address disadvantage. We look forward to seeing how these ideas evolve with access to tailored tech support and valued partnerships backing people to pursue their vision for social change.”

Comic Relief’s CEO Liz Warner added: “We’re pleased to be supporting another Tech for Good cohort, responding to a diversity of social issues, and helping them put the needs of the people they serve at the heart of their digital development.”

The successful Tech for Good 2019 projects are:

Alexandra Rose
Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Programme (RVP) supports families on low incomes to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, through vouchers which can be redeemed at local markets and community food projects across four London boroughs, Barnsley and Liverpool. They received a grant in a previous Tech for Good Fund to develop and launch the Rosie app to digitise the reimbursement of Rose Vouchers. This additional funding will enable them to meet increasing national demand by customizing their app to make it scalable to allow them to work with a wider range of local partners such as GP surgeries, food banks and various community services, so that areas can adapt RVP to their local needs.

AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)
Survivors of domestic and sexual abuse often struggle to have their mental health needs met – waiting lists are long and services are rarely trauma-informed. AVA will design and build a digital product to meet these needs. It will give users immediate relief through functions that could include trauma-informed-meditation and tips around coping strategies. The project will test assumptions about what survivors want and need using a steering group of 'experts by experience' from scoping through to launch.

Bipolar UK
According to research conducted by Bipolar UK there are 1.3 million people living with bipolar in the UK. They are developing a chatbot to help users self manage their symptoms and provide practical advice. The chatbot combines machine learning with the informed research from Bipolar UK, by giving answers, prompts and signposting users to information. This funding will scale up the chatbot by installing it on the website, integrating it with services, so people can book a call with a volunteer or attend a group.

Deaf Kidz International
DeafKidz International (DKI) is a young organisation working to address the safeguarding and protection needs of Deaf, hard of hearing children and young people. They are developing DeafKidz Defender, an interactive digital game concept that will empower Deaf children aged 7-11 to reduce their risk and vulnerability to abuse and exploitation. There is currently no dedicated digital safeguarding and protection provision specifically aimed at Deaf children of this age in the UK or worldwide.

Muscular Dystrophy UK
Muscular Dystrophy UK is the charity for 70,000 people living with a range of muscle wasting conditions in the UK. The project will develop an online Holistic Needs Assessment portal, where people living with these conditions can conduct their own wellbeing assessments. This  will make it easier for NCAs (Neuromuscular Care Advisors) to manage their care plans and enable them to be signposted more quickly to specialist services. There are only 60 NCAs, supporting about 500 patients across the UK.

Ruils
Ruils will transform its highly successful Sitting and Befriending service, which matches trained befrienders to disabled children in south west London. The grant will develop a new website which will empower parents, carers and children to engage directly with the service, outside of office hours. This will remove a huge amount of administration, enabling Ruils staff to significantly expand the service, meaning more befrienders can help disabled children to enjoy activities, gain independence and practice social skills.

stem4
stem4 provides education in secondary schools in four areas of mental health; anxiety and depression, self-harm, eating disorders and addiction with a clear focus on enhancing resilience. Building on the success of their NHS-accredited ‘Calm Harm’ app (helping teenagers manage the urge to self-harm), as well as the previously Tech for Good-funded ‘Clear Fear’ app (helping teenagers manage symptoms of anxiety), stem4 will develop a third app which will use an evidence-based, Behavioural Activation approach to help teenagers manage symptoms of depression.

The Mix
The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people, by young people, supporting them to take on any challenge they face; from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. The Mix will develop chatbot technology to create a personalised experience for young people using their channels. This digitised outreach and engagement will ensure that The Mix’s capacity is increased, users find what they are looking for, benefit from improved signposting to other services and that The Mix can serve a higher percentage of young people.

The next application round will open in February 2020. Prospective applicants should subscribe to the Tech for Good Hub to stay updated and for further information.