We're looking back on 2023 at the Keeping Digital Foundation, and celebrating all of the progress we have made in our mission to allow every resident in North Yorkshire to have the opportunities to get online and to learn new skills. 
What a year! It's fair to say we've been pretty busy in 2023. When I started York Pi Jam (which later grew into the Keeping Digital Foundation) back when I was just 14 years old, I would never have imagined that we would be as big as we are today. I'm proud beyond words at all of the hard work myself and our volunteers have put in to creating an organisation we can all be proud of. 
Back in 2020, when Coronavirus meant we had to stop running our face-to-face York Pi Jam activities, myself and my best friend David sat down and decided we wanted to create something bigger. Whilst doing so, I wanted to be as transparent as possible on our journey, launching our News page and taking time to write posts on all of our exciting updates. Now, once a year, I sit down and write our yearly review, highlighting our achievements and everything that has changed in the past year. 
In 2023, the Keeping Digital Foundation turned 7 years old, and we also celebrated the first year anniversary of our relaunched York CoderDojo activities and Digital Cafe services! Here's our review for the insane but amazing year 2023 turned out to be. 

Our branding. 

It's something I didn't really give much thought in the first year of running Keeping Digital Foundation. Since launching, York Pi Jam had stuck with the same logo (and it's still used today), however the rest of our activities often changed branding and our previous website was always changing design as we grew our services. Rightfully so, my co-founder and best friend David would often tell me off. Consistent branding is so important as we grow a recognisable organisation that people trust. 
So, this year, we sat down and worked to bring all of our organisations into one recognisable Keeping Digital Foundation brand. 
So, you all know our Keeping Digital Green colour. It's been a staple of our branding since we launched in 2020. However, in 2023, we've now introduced Joy and Curiosity to our branding, both inspired by two of our characters! 
Our characters were developed to inspire everyone to feel included in the Keeping Digital Foundation. When speaking to our service users, you told us Joy and Curiosity were the feelings you feel most when receiving support from us! 
You probably haven't noticed our branding change that much, but all of our logos now make use of the Keeping Digital Foundation palette, and personally we're super proud of the result! As for our York Pi Jam logo fans, don't worry, we made the decision to keep the well-known original logo. 

We're all about the communities we serve. 

York and North Yorkshire. It's where we were founded and it's our mission to empower our local residents when it comes to getting online. We've launched services across the region in recent years, including: 
We're delighted to be working with both the City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council to support the rollout of our free support services and activities, and we can't wait to further expand our services into Northallerton, Harrogate and Selby in the new year. 
We're also working with local communities in these areas to understand how our services can better support them. We've already partnered with fellow charitable organisations like Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust to bring our Digital Cafe support services to even more residents. 
Earlier this year, we were also nominated (and finalists) for Best Charity at the YorkMix Choice Awards 2023! That was all down to the amazing support of local residents, and we are so grateful for everyone who voted for us and our volunteers. 
In 2023, we also launched our partnership with Your Charity Lottery, enabling a fun and sustainable fundraising income stream in the form of a weekly lottery draw that our communities can participate in. 

Our expansion of our Digital Cafes. 

In 2023, we opened the doors to four more Digital Cafes, bringing the total number in the city of York to six! Our new Digital Cafes opened at: 
St Wulstan, Heworth 
York Stadium, Huntington 
St Sampsons, York City Centre 
Folk Hall, New Earswick 
We're also working to launch a brand new concept at St Wulstan Digital Cafe, providing a range of warm drinks alongside e-safety workshops for parents and guardians with the Digital Cafes running at the same time as the local school pick-up. 
Our Digital Cafes have supported residents from setting up email addresses, providing free mobile phone data to allow residents to stay connected, to even removing unwanted browser addons from laptops. 
No questions is too big or too small for our volunteers - we'd love to see you! Pop down, speak to one of our friendly volunteers, and discover how we can support you in getting online.  
According to a report published in July, York is now highlighted as one of the most digitally inclusive cities, offering 8 digital inclusion hubs per 100,000 population! 
We're currently working on our yearly report to the CIC regulator which highlights the postive impact our services have on our local communities. 

Introducing Gwiddle. 

Gwiddle has been one of our biggest relaunches to date. After the now defunct Gwiddle Foundation closed, we have been working on plans to launch a service so students in the UK can continue to benefit from free website hosting for their projects. We announced that we were relaunching the Gwiddle brand to allow more UK students to benefit from free website hosting and support when learning Computer Science. 
Gwiddle is the latest launch for our range of digital making activities, with UK students already able to register for a free hosting account on the Gwiddle website. Projects can then be hosted through their Gwiddle Portal account. 
We plan to further expand Gwiddle in 2024, with the aim to inspire the next generation with improved Gwiddle accounts, tutorials, lesson plans and Gwiddle workshops. 

Creating a new digital age. 

The digital age, also called the information age, is defined as the time period starting in the 1970s with the introduction of the personal computer with subsequent technology introduced providing the ability to transfer information freely and quickly. As digital technology continues to advance, its become very easy for people to fall behind as more and more services go online. 
We're opening the doors to a new digital age, where everyone is empowered to build the confidence when using digital devices and getting online. We're already doing this through our free face-to-face support at Digital Cafes, and online through our expanding Support page. We've also been investing in our telephone line and email systems to allow people to get support at home or in a way that suits them. 

The growth of My Keeping Digital. 

Earlier this year, we made the switch from event ticketing systems like Eventbrite to our own in-house My Keeping Digital platform. My Keeping Digital is the new home for booking onto our free services across the region, including York CoderDojo and our digital inclusion workshops. 
My Keeping Digital allows the public to easily access and sign up for our digital making and digital inclusion services across the region, with better understanding of who your data is processed by and how we use that data to keep you informed of future services. 
The new booking tool also removes the requirement to create an account when signing up to services, with tickets accessible by simply confirming your email address. 
My Keeping Digital has also allowed us to better understand the demand of our services, and the tool helps us plan future services across the region. As we continue into 2024, My Keeping Digital will expand across the organisation with Learn Computer Science workshops to launch on the platform. 

The York Databank rollout. 

Earlier this year, we were delighted to announced that we were part of the National Databank, meaning we can provide free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need, in partnership with Good Things Foundation, Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three. 
The easiest way to think of the databank is like a 'food bank' but for internet connectivity data. 
The people being supported by the UK National Databank are cut off from the basic daily activities most people in our country take for granted. They are cut off from contacting loved ones, from job interviews, from finding essential health or other information online, and cut off from digitised public services. We believe that no-one should be left behind. The UK National Databank brings free mobile internet data connectivity to people who can’t afford it and who are often also experiencing multiple inequalities in today’s society. 
Our volunteers at our Digital Cafes across the city of York are able to apply on behalf of a resident to benefit from the programme. In order to make sure the programme supports those most at need, someone receiving data through the Databank must: 
Be 18+ years old 
AND be from a low income household 
AND qualify in one or several of the following statements: 
Has no access or insufficient access to the internet at home 
Has no or insufficient access to the internet when away from home 
Cannot afford their existing monthly contract or top up 
Many local residents are already benefitting from the York Databank service, and we look forward to continuing to support our residents with the Databank programme into the new year. 

Our amazing volunteers. 

Volunteers are a valued part of our team here at the Keeping Digital Foundation and we work hard to ensure that our volunteers have a rewarding experience. 
In the past year, we have more than doubled the number of amazing volunteers who are part of Team Keeping Digital - that's a lot of DBS checks and inductions onto VolunteerPortal to complete! 
This year alone, our volunteers have logged more than 100 volunteering hours with the Keeping Digital Foundation through their VolunteerPortal that's over 6,000 minutes of people supporting their local communities! 
We have also joined many other organisations who involve volunteers in signing the York Citwide Volunteering Pledge. The pledge shows our commitment to aspire to achieve the principles set out below, and highlights our dedication to contributing towards a thriving culture of Volunteering in York. 
Thank you to everyone who has applied and given up some of their free time to support local residents! 
We're looking for amazing volunteers like you! 
Volunteers are a valued part of our team here at the Keeping Digital Foundation and we work hard to ensure that our volunteers have a rewarding experience. 
We've got some exciting volunteering opportunities available across York & North Yorkshire! 

Looking towards the future. 

It's been an incredible year for the Keeping Digital Foundation, and we are excited to reveal more improvements to our services in 2024, and to continue the amazing work of our digital making activities for young people across the region. 
Nearly 1 in 5 adults lack the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life, with over 1 in 20 households having no internet access, neither fixed line nor mobile. Having the option to get connected is vital, with much support from councils and businesses moving online in recent years. 
Our digital making activities ensures every young person has an equal chance in developing creativity and problem solving skills, with equal access to STEM education regardless of school catchment area. 
Our new Digital Cafes are an extremely vital service across the city of York, tackling digital exclusion and supporting residents to get online and to build confidence with technology to help them avoid scams and to get the support they need when they need it most. 
We would not be able to do our incredible work if it wasn't for the amazing support of our volunteers - thank you all so much! 
Everyone at the Keeping Digital Foundation would like to wish you a Happy New Year. and we hope to see you at some of our services very soon. 


Founder and Community Coordinator 
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