After working with partners to convene and initiate Getting Oxfordshire Online, OCF is passing the coordination of the project into the capable hands of the delivery partners from February 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted digital poverty as a key issue in our county. Building on experience from several other collaborative projects, OCF engaged its networks and knowledge of the county to set up a strategic partnership that brought together organisations from multiple sectors to tackle these issues in partnership.
Getting Oxfordshire Online was made possible by Our Common Good and Oxfordshire County Council, and is now also being supported by other local and national donors. This initiative was designed from the start to have set-up coordination from OCF, transitioning to self-management within one year. The three delivery hubs at SOFEA, Bicester Green and Aspire are now up and running and operating cohesively as partners independent of OCF, with an independent management committee and advisory group.
These delivery partners are leading experts in their field and geographic area, with their own networks and spheres of influence. We have already seen very positive changes happening because of this project: thanks to an successful appeal for laptop donations in November and a push for referrals last month, Getting Oxfordshire Online has received over 700 devices donated by the public and local businesses, and given out 311 free laptops to those in need since the project launched in September 2021.
Partners are now also looking at how to build on the positive strides already made in promoting access to learning and support, and to affordable broadband connections, in addition to equipment. They are confident that with the renewed management structure, this initiative will make a tangible difference to many people in our county for years to come.
OCF will remain an advocate and ally of the Getting Oxfordshire Online initiative, whilst focusing its efforts on bringing greater philanthropic support to charitable organisations in Oxfordshire.