We have some very exciting news to share about the Trust’s evolution!
After ten years as their corporate foundation, Nominet and the Trust have agreed that the most effective way to scale our social impact is by establishing our independence from Nominet.

During 2017, many of you were involved in our stakeholder discussions, from which our ambitious 2021 social tech strategy evolved.  Our new website clearly sets out our purpose, which is to transform lives with tech.  To deliver our strategy, we need the freedom to expand our grant making and investment activity by attracting more varied sources of funding.

Nominet has supported us with funding of £44m over the last ten years.  They will continue their public benefit programme focusing on security, connectivity and inclusivity, as we build on our own reserves, strengthening our commitment to social tech.

We want to reassure everyone we’re currently working with that support already committed will be unaffected.  We’re communicating our news at the earliest possible opportunity as these developments aim to boost the availability of grants and growth investment for social tech to transform lives.

A huge thanks to our outgoing Chair Natalie Campbell, and Trustees Nora Nanayakkara and Jemima Rellie for their fantastic contribution to the Trust.  We’re looking forward to developing our renamed, independent charity under the strong leadership of our new Chair Bill Liao, who joined our Board back in 2014.  Bill has the full support of Trustees Sebastien Lahtinen, who joined in 2015, and Beth Murray and Hannah Keartland who joined our Board last year.

It’s still early days for our transition, but we’ll keep you updated.  We’re excited about the opportunities 2018 will bring!


Bill Liao                                                                                                                 Vicki Hearn

Nominet Trust Chair                                                                                           Nominet Trust Director

  • New ‘Trip Advisor’ style App connects students to work experience in less than 5 minutes;
  • Manchester the first city to benefit from up to 5,000 work experience scholarships for 16-18 year-old women to work in digital companies and charities;
  • Funded by £200k investment from social tech investor, Nominet Trust;
  • Preparing girls for jobs of the future the ‘challenge of a generation’.

MANCHESTER, UK – 20 November 2017: Gov-tech education charity Founders4Schools (F4S), whose mission is to connect inspiring business leaders with schools, has today announced the creation of a scholarship fund to benefit thousands of young women across Manchester with work experience opportunities. These roles are on offer to girls aged 16 to 18, as the charity puts powerful tools into the hands of girls looking for work experience in Manchester’s thriving digital sector.

The placements will be available through F4S’ ground-breaking mobile-phone service Workfinder, which was inspired by sixteen-year-old Maitri Panchal while she was on work experience with the charity herself. Workfinder enables young people to filter preferences, share recommendations and connect with great companies in as little as five minutes.

Work Experience helps young people grow their skills and businesses benefit from much needed talent, but the reliance on informal networks means that many pupils in deprived areas secured no work experience at all last year. Last week, UK digital businesses across the nation came together to pledge to offer, via Workfinder, week-long work-experience placements that are needed by the 1.8 million 16-18 year-old students in UK schools.

The opportunities are offered in fast-growing digital and tech Manchester businesses, including Regit, Tangerine, The Juice Academy, The eWord, Social Chain and Code Computerlove.com. They help young people unlock their potential and kick-start their careers using STEM skills. The Manchester scholarships for girls have been made possible through funding from social tech investors Nominet Trust, amongst others.

Speaking at the Girls School’s Association Annual Conference in Manchester, Sherry Coutu, CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute, said: “The current work experience model is broken. According to the ScaleUp Institute, 90% of UK scaleup businesses are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit but existing structures do not allow UK plc. to foster home-grown skills.”

She continued: “93% of teachers say that work experience boosts student attainment and aspirations. Great companies are learning environments and need talent to grow; young people need help to find their passion in life. It’s the challenge of a generation, and I hope Workfinder will help them discover their route to a meaningful career.”
Founders4Schools’ mission is to put the power in the hands of young people.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust added: “Nominet Trust’s purpose is to transform lives with tech – but that’s only possible if we give the next generation, regardless of their background and circumstance, the opportunity to develop digital skills. We’re excited about continuing our partnership with Founders4Schools by funding 5,000 placements available through Workfinder in major UK cities, because of the opportunity it gives to young women to develop careers in STEM subjects, boosting their contribution to the UK’s growing digital economy.”

Chris Green, CRO at Regit, said “Cultivating young talent is massively important for UK business and something we work hard to do at Regit. I recently spoke at a Founders4Schools event and it was genuinely one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It is exciting to be part of a programme which will help shape our country moving forward.” Simone Roche, Founder, Northern Power Women, said “I welcome this brilliant initiative to give young women in Manchester the opportunity to grow their skills. For the whole region it’s vital that we grow our talent base and foster gender equality. I urge others to also support the work Founders4Schools are doing.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI, said: “Only a small portion of school students get the kind of valuable work-based placements that we know help open young eyes to the possibilities of different careers. I welcome the launch of Workfinder, and would encourage businesses of all sizes to open up opportunities to share.”


Workfinder can be downloaded by students to connect to these and other work experience opportunities free of charge from the app store.

Teachers can find out about Workfinder here: http://bit.ly/2iXg6Ks.
Parents can find out about workfinder here: https://www.workfinder.com/
Businesses willing to host work experience at their companies can sign up here: https://www.workfinder.com/employer/pledge


<li><strong>Fair By Design Fund</strong> boosted by £1m investment from Nominet Trust</li>
<li><strong>Five start-ups benefit</strong> from £70k funding to provide alternative services to low incomes households</li>
A new fund – worth up to £20 million – has been launched to invest in ventures which can disrupt the energy, finance and insurance markets and provide alternative services to millions of people on low incomes hit by the poverty premium.

Fourteen million people live in poverty in the UK, more than one in five of the population. But people already struggling face a poverty premium – having to pay more for essential goods and services, such as their energy bills, for credit or their food.
On average, these extra costs add up to £490 a year and can total up to £1,190 for some households.

Now, the Fair By Design Fund <a href=”http://www.fairbydesignfund.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>aims</a> to eliminate the poverty premium within 10 years. Backed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust, Ascension Ventures, and Finance Birmingham, the Fair By Design Fund will invest in companies from Seed through to Series A and beyond.


Progress has already been made. At an event to launch the fund on November 8, the partnership will unveil five start-ups from an <a href=”https://wayra.co.uk/wayra-fair-by-design/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>accelerator programme</a>, run by Wayra UK, which will all benefit from funding and mentoring while they develop innovative solutions to the premium:

<strong>Global-365</strong> – Decreasing the cost of pre-payments for gas, electricity and heating and in doing so simplifying the process and methods of top-up making. SMARTprepay is the first system with the technology and sophistication to finally offer price parity between prepayment and credit customers.
<strong>JobSkilla</strong> – a tool that helps unemployed people find free skills training, and connect training organisations to candidates in deprived areas.
We Are Digital – A project to help people to manage their finances, find the best deals and provide training for financial management.
<strong>Bean</strong> – A platform for consumers to understand their spending on recurring payments. Helping people save money and cancel unwanted subscriptions or re-negotiate lower fees on everyday bills.
<strong>Credit Kudos</strong> – Credit Kudos gathers information using your online banking to determine your suitability when applying for financial products. Credit Kudos aims to make credit scoring fair and transparent.


The Fund has £9 million to deploy and is seeking to increase this to £20 million over the next 12 months.

It will invest in solutions to four key areas of the premium:
<li><strong>Energy</strong> – Low-income households often pay more for the energy they use, for example, through pay-as-you-go meters or by not switching suppliers. 5.8 million low income households pay an extra £317 a year for gas and electricity because they are stuck on pay-as-you-go tariffs or not switching to a cheaper provider.</li>
<li><strong>Finance</strong> – Unable to get credit elsewhere, low income households often rely on payday loans – which are much more expensive than mainstream alternatives, such as paying £540 over the odds for a doorstep loan because they cannot access mainstream credit, or an additional £120 for a payday loan.</li>
<li><strong>Insurance</strong> – This area is focused on the problem lower-income consumers have accessing insurance. For example, there are few ‘no-frills’ insurance products suitable for low-income consumers. These consumers often also live in deprived areas, which may also be higher crime areas, and therefore might incur higher insurance premiums.</li>
<li><strong>Geo-based premiums</strong> –  Almost three in four low income households pay extra because of where they live. For example, not having easy access to a supermarket costs an estimated £266 per year. Digital Exclusion can be included in this category: low-income consumers may not have access to the Internet, or be confident using it, making them unable to access online services to reduce household costs. This could range from shopping online to comparing insurance products.</li>


<strong>Campbell Robb</strong>, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“Households in poverty are four times more likely to be behind with at least one household bill and are more exposed to the rising cost of living. The poverty premium is costly and unjust penalty for living on a low income. It’s a sign of market failure, which we need to end urgently. Investors, businesses and social enterprise have a huge part to play in solving poverty in the UK. It’s time to make life affordable for everyone.”

<strong>Cliff Prior</strong>, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said:

“It’s simply wrong that people on low incomes pay more for basic goods and services. It shouldn’t cost more to pay your bills as you go, it shouldn’t cost more to heat your home. But it does for so many people. We know that there are many social businesses which are looking to find solutions to some of the UK’s toughest challenges, and this Fund can help them make a real difference to the lives of people living on low incomes and their families. Together, we can eliminate the poverty premium and help millions of people.”

<strong>Vicki Hearn</strong>, Director of Nominet Trust, which today announced £1m investment in the Fair By Design Fund over three years, commented:

“Nominet Trust is committed to transforming lives with tech and we know that by working with other mission-led partners to leverage skills, insight and capital we all have a greater chance of achieving social impact. Our investment in the Fair By Design Fund will challenge us all to think differently about the relationship between tech and society, encouraging the growth of innovative, disruptive digital solutions to the unjust consequences of living on a low income.”

<strong>Tina Hallett</strong>, Government and Public Services leader at PwC, commented:

“PwC has been working for over three years now with business, Whitehall and the third sector to encourage new ways to tackle the Poverty Premium and we have found a genuine desire from these organisations to do the right thing. But translating this into tangible measures has been more difficult.

“The work of the start-ups supported by Fair By Design Fund presents a ground-breaking opportunity to lead us all in thinking differently about how we solve this problem. No one organisation can do this alone. We all need to work together to build on their contribution – and make a material difference.”

<strong>Gary Stewart</strong>, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ UK, which manages the acceleration programme in Oldham, said: “It’s no longer good enough to expect government or charities to solve all of our problems. The UK’s future will depend on finding partnerships like this one that empower start-ups to do good, while doing well.”
Jean de Fougerolles, chief executive of Ascension Ventures, said:

“The Fair By Design Fund gives Ascension Ventures a tool to combine financial and social return for our partners and to play our part in eradicating the Poverty Premium. It should not cost more to buy everyday products and services just because you have a low-income. The team at Ascension is passionate about helping to eradicate the Poverty Premium, by investing in businesses that will disrupt unfair markets.”

<strong>Angela Clements</strong>, Founder, Fair for You, a not-for-profit online lending company based in Birmingham, that provides affordable finance to those who need it the most, said:

“Fair for You provides small loans to facilitate the purchase of essential household items, and in our first 22 months we have already loaned £4m which at an average of £300 each time, means that thousands of families have been able to avoid the poverty premium attached to fridges, cookers, cots, bunk beds. Independent research from Centre for Responsible Credit has estimated an average saving of around £500 per item. Essentially, it also found that over a third of customers believed their children’s health and wellbeing had improved directly as a result of taking finance from Fair for You instead of their previous high cost credit provider.”



The search is now on for the best of UK technology for good, as independent publisher and commentator DigitalAgenda opens up its respected Impact Awards for a second year from today.

The Impact Awards celebrate digital innovations that make a positive impact on the way we live, learn and do business. With 12 categories covering three broad themes of people, places and business, the awards are open to entry from any UK-based business, government or non-profit using digital products or services for positive social or environmental impact.

The 2018 Impact Awards are sponsored by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder. We are delighted that in 2018, the awards are being run in association with Berenberg, one of Europe’s leading private banks.

The 2018 Impact Awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday March 7 at east London’s iconic Oval Space. An afternoon awards ceremony will hear from our winners, alongside guest speakers. The ceremony will be followed by an evening reception giving winners a chance to celebrate, and all of our guests the opportunity to connect. The awards will be co-hosted by Oli Barrett MBE and DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake.
The awards are open for entries across our 12 themed categories until December 18, 2017. We will also be giving out awards for people’s choice and individual impact.

Judging takes place in January 2018, with the finalists announced in the first week of February. Entering is free and simple – just fill out the form.


Our group of Impact Awards judges brings extensive experience in startups, impact technology, investment and academia and includes representation from: Bethnal Green Ventures, Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Essence, Freeformers, Nominet Trust, Northzone, RocketSpace, University College London, US Ai, ustwo and White Star Capital. More judges to be confirmed.

DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake said: “The Impact Awards celebrate technology that is being used for positive impact rather than just for profit. Our awards highlight the amazing potential for technology to be a force for good. Technology isn’t always seen by as a force for good, with understandable public fears about its effects on privacy, child safety and the future of work. But digital also offers the potential to address some of the biggest challenges we face.”


“We’re delighted that the Impact Awards are running for a second year, and proud to be sponsored for a second year by Nominet Trust. We’re also delighted that the 2018 awards are being run in association with Berenberg. We have assembled a group of judges that add expertise and credibility to the decision-making process. Our aim is to make the Impact Awards the most important accolade anywhere for technology making a positive impact, across business, government and non-profits alike.”

Nominet Trust director Vicki Hearn said: “We’re proud to be lead sponsor of DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards for a second year, giving some of the most impactful UK tech for good projects an opportunity to shine. Through our grant funding and partnerships, we create a supportive environment for organisations striving to realise the full promise of socially-motivated tech. It’s great that DigitalAgenda’s building on the evident success of last year’s awards and we’re looking forward to seeing the innovation and evidence of social impact demonstrated by this year’s applicants.”

Richard Brass, Berenberg head of wealth and asset management UK, said: We are delighted to support DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards. Harnessing digital skills is a core component for companies looking to reach the widest audience and to develop positive impact. These awards not only celebrate technology and innovation but also look to identify sustainable and long-term business models. This is consistent with our own investment philosophy and, of course, our heritage as a 427-year old bank managed by personally unlimited managing partners.”


Impact Awards 2018 – categories

The 2018 Impact Awards are grouped under three overall headings: people, places and business.

People theme

Education – technologies that are transforming both teaching and learning, in schools, universities or online.

Employment & skills – technology that is changing ways into work, and work itself, as well as initiatives that increase people’s skills and access to talent.

Health – technology that enhances healthcare knowledge and treatment, as well as people’s abilities to lead healthier and happier lives.

Sharing and communities – digital initiatives that help people to share resources more effectively, or where collaboration enables greater community participation and an increased sense of shared purpose.


Places theme

Cities – digital initiatives that enhance places and spaces, making them better places to live, work and play.

Climate – technologies that help organisations to manage and understand environmental change, helping them to create places that are more sustainable.

Sustainable living – technologies that enable individuals to live more sustainably, by providing higher-quality, healthier food or reducing waste.

Smart – products and services using smart technologies, including around travel, to make urban and rural living  easier, offering greater mobility and enabling people to connect more easily.



Business transformation – products and projects that help business, government and non-profits to become more effective and happier, healthier places to work.
Social and economic transformation – outward-facing initiatives from business, government and non-profits that look to make a positive impact on the wider world.
Financial inclusion – technologies that make it easier for people to save and spend, and that enhance access to and the quality of financial services.
Investment – the best in impact funding provided by investors and backers of all kinds, across all platforms and funding routes.


Additional categories

People’s choice award – chosen by a public vote of the 36 finalists across our 12 themed categories.

Individual impact – outstanding contribution by an individual in helping to grow technology for good, through personal giving of time or money.


Join us at the 2018 Impact Awards

Come along to London’s Oval Space on Wednesday March 7, 2018 for our afternoon awards event (3-7pm) and after party (7:30-10pm). You’ll join senior-level entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, academics and more on a mission to change the world and individual lives for the better through digital innovation. You can expect a brilliant set of speakers and innovators on stage on the day. All food and drink is included. Individual combined ticket (awards and party): £49+VAT. Various discounts are available for group orders and for members of the DigitalAgenda Network. Tickets for the Impact Awards are on sale now.


Impact Awards sponsorship opportunities are available for 2018. To discuss, please contact Hagit Amsterdam, business development manager on 07732 949089, email marketing@digital-agenda.co.uk. Awards sponsors receive awards and evening reception tickets as part of their sponsor packages. Shortlisted finalists receive one complimentary ticket for the event.

Notes to editors

  1. The DigitalAgenda Impact Awards are open to any UK-founded or operating organisation – whether in the business, non-profit or public sector – with a tech product or service that is looking to make the world a better place. Entries will be judged against five criteria: idea, product/service, team, scalability and impact. Read our entry guidelines.


  1. DigitalAgenda is a publishing, events and networking initiative focussing on the changes that digital technology is making to our lives. We share ideas that look to make the world a better place. We want to add impetus to the growing movement for technology for good. Our online and live content highlights innovation, reports trends and explains the difference that technology makes to our lives. And our events connect people face-to-face from our network of digital professionals – including at our annual Impact Awards and regular UK-wide ‘city impact’ dinners.


  1. Nominet Trust is the UK’s leading social tech funder. It provides 100% grant funding, mentoring and business support to organisations using the internet and digital technology to address significant social challenges including health and wellbeing, economic empowerment and sustainability.


  1. Berenberg is one of the leading privately owned banks in Europe today, with more than 1,500 professionals in its four key business areas of investment banking, wealth management, asset management and corporate banking. With offices in London, New York, Frankfurt and Zurich, Berenberg is able to offer a broad range of services to corporations, investment institutions and private individuals.  Since being founded in 1590, Berenberg has been run by managing partners who have personal and unlimited liability. This direct accountability underpins the Bank’s core values to ensure long-term success alongside its clients.


  1. Impact Awards 2017 – winners:


Education: Texthelp

Employment & skills: Founders4Schools

Health: Babylon

Money: Squirrel

Cities: Pavegen

Climate: Bulb

Food: FoodCloud

Smart: Wayfindr

Business transformation: Saberr

Investment: ClearlySo ATLAS

Sharing & partnership: Neighbourly

Social and economic transformation: AID:Tech

Editor’s award: Dr Sue Black, Saving Bletchley Park/techmums


  1. For more details, contact Julian Blake, DigitalAgenda director and editor, on 07767 266476.


  1. DigitalAgenda’s logo is attached, along with a photograph of the 2017 Impact Awards winners.


  1. Nominet Trust and Berenberg links attached also.


  1. Find DigitalAgenda at www.digital-agenda.co.uk, on Twitter @DigitalAgenda_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/digitalagenda2016



Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, has today unveiled the 2016 NT100 – a celebration of the 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive social change around the world. Now in its fourth year, the 2016 NT100 gives special recognition to ‘Everyday Tech Heroes’ — the inspirational people who have first-hand experience of the challenges they are tackling with tech.

The organisations chosen for this year’s NT100 have wide-ranging purposes, from those determined to democratise access to quality education and healthcare, to those connecting minority communities and evoking empathy. As in 2015, improving humanitarian response was again a strong and topical theme. But while the projects featured in the 2015 NT100 were largely responsive, in 2016 they demonstrate how humanitarian resources can be predictively deployed to mitigate crises and make sure scant resources are used well.

Other key themes in the 2016 NT100 include:

Social inclusion:

Despite 10% of the world’s population living with a disability, they are a chronically underrepresented group; yet over 10% of the ventures in 2016 NT100 are using technology to help people live more inclusive and autonomous lives.

Projects include EVA Park  – a virtual environment to help those with aphasia recover communication skills; Hand Talk – a Brazilian innovation introducing Hugo, a virtual interpreter that translates between spoken languages and sign language; DisruptDisability – which has created the world’s first open source wheelchair designs; and the South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO) – the UK’s only disabled-led regional youth orchestra. The founder of DisruptDisability, Rachael Wallach, and the SWOYO musicians are celebrated as Everyday Tech Heroes for imaginatively using technology to demonstrate how a physical disability need not inhibit your mobility or even deter you from being a world-class musician.

Economic Empowerment:

Eight NT100 ventures featured in 2016 are trailblazing routes towards economic empowerment for people who have been disenfranchised for too long.

Giraffe is a free recruitment app to help tackle high levels of unemployment in Cape Town, while Bim is a ground-breaking mobile money platform, opening up financial services to rural communities in Peru. Everyday Tech Heroes Nova Credit watched their families struggle financially when emigrating to the US, so they set up the world’s first international credit reporting agency, helping people to access essential funds to get established as new arrivals.


Health remains a strong theme this year, with a greater emphasis on mental health.  Three of the projects focus on helping those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – estimated to affect 7-8% of the US population alone.

Projects include MyBivy, which helps PTSD patients to avoid night terrors and BraveMind, a virtual reality therapeutic game that supports those recovering. Pioneering research from the team behind SimSensei has shown that a virtual human clinician can help PTSD sufferers and others to open up, enabling more effective mental health diagnosis and treatment.


10 of the NT100 show how technology can deliver education to excluded groups.

One example, Kiron, is an online tool providing a world-class education to refugees who are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. Other ventures include OneUni, which aims to give everyone access to a university education through a mobile phone, and iScoil – an Irish online education system to help those who left school early to get back on track.


In 2016 we saw some incredible breakthroughs in delivering clean water to everyone.

Innovations ran the entire ‘pipeline’ including WaterScope – bringing fast, cheap and reliable water-testing kits to local communities in India and Gambia using a raspberry pi and a 3d printer, mWater – a global community of water surveyors working to highlight which places still need clean water, and Driblet – a smart water meter that monitors water usage, pressure and temperature and has the potential to cut water consumption by up to 30%.


10% of the 2016 NT100 focuses on technology that helps keep people safe, from the protection of those in conflict-zones to young people experiencing bullying.

Mine Kafon Drone, an airborne drone that can detect and remove landmines, was founded by Everyday Tech Hero Massoud Hassani. Having grown up near the minefields in Kabul, Hassani drew inspiration from his childhood to develop Mine Kafon to help clear the world’s landmines quickly and systematically and raise global awareness. In the UK Michael Brennan, another Everyday Tech Hero, responded to his own experience of being bullied as a young boy by creating tootoot – a safe and anonymous online reporting environment that gives students a voice.

Commenting on the 2016 NT100, Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “In our fourth year of the NT100, we have discovered 700 more social tech innovations from across the globe. It is truly inspiring to know that so many entrepreneurs from all walks of life are embracing digital technology as a force for social good. We hope inclusion in the 2016 NT100 provides a valuable stepping-stone for these life-enhancing ventures to raise their profile and secure further investment.”

“NT100 provides a platform that amplifies the collective power of the tech for good community. It has a valuable role to play in inspiring those with the influence and resources to accelerate the adoption of tech for social good and brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs, charities, technologists and others to share knowledge, experiences and skills to introduce social change on a global scale.”

“Vitally, our recognition of Everyday Tech Heroes this year shows that you don’t have to have influence and a big budget to play an inspirational role.  With the right tech tools and a powerful desire to change the status quo, these heroes are tackling some of the world’s most pressing social challenges – starting with the ones on their own doorsteps.”

“The NT100 is a powerful and influential initiative, bringing together many hundreds of social tech innovations from around the world which each embrace digital technology for good,” comments Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, founder and funder of Nominet Trust. “That such a diverse selection of inspiring projects is curated in this way is so important, not least for the global platform it provides each of them to secure future investment, but for the wide-ranging challenges they help to address and solve. As the founder and funder of Nominet Trust, we are delighted that through supporting international campaigns like the NT100, and UK-based tech-for-good ventures, Nominet is able to play a key role in helping to create a vibrant digital future, for all.”

The 2016 NT100 was selected following a three-month period of research and public nominations. Shortlisted projects were reviewed by a panel of organisations including: Big Lottery Fund, Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Nominet, Oxfam, Telefonica O2 and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

The complete 2016 NT100 is now live at http://socialtech.org.uk/nominet-trust-100/2016/.  For more information, or to organise an interview with Nominet Trust or the featured projects, please contact us on nt100@wildfirepr.com or +44 (0) 208 408 8000.

Tech company Open Utility have today released the findings of their six‐month trial of Piclo, the Britain’s first online peer‐to‐peer marketplace for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly. Findings from the six‐month  trial  have  revealed that local markets are the future of a decentralised energy economy and that significant savings can be achieved by making grid charges fairer through local matching ‐ if Piclo is widely adopted alongside Open Utility’s proposals to Ofgem for fairer grid charges it could mark a step‐change for the industry.

The Piclo trial was a collaboration between energy startup Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy with funding from leading tech for good investor Nominet Trust and The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme run by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It gives consumers and generators the tools and data needed to allow them complete choice and control,  whilst also providing electricity retailers groundbreaking insights into their customers purchasing decisions.

James Johnston, Open Utility CEO and co‐founder said: “Open Utility believe peer‐to‐peer local energy matching could unlock billions of pounds of additional revenue for renewable generation technologies in Great Britain and overseas, heralding an age of decentralised and clean electricity. And now, following the release of our six‐month trial we are in a perfect position to maximise the benefit from the smart meter rollout to 30 million households and businesses across Wales, Scotland and England by the end of 2020 alongside the recognition by  Ofgem  that  it  is  in  consumers’  interests  to  be  settled  against  their  half‐hourly consumption data.”

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “At Nominet Trust, we’re passionate about the potential of the internet and digital technology as a force for social good. It’s been exciting for us to support  Open Utility’s growth through our funding for Piclo, building a fairer, renewable energy marketplace for consumers and producers – and also helping to preserve vital resources for future generations. We’re now thrilled to see the results of the Piclo trial and its potential to unlock value in local energy markets.”

Piclo takes in all the price and preference information and matches electricity demand and supply  every half an hour. Good Energy  help  ensure that the marketplace  is  always balanced, purchasing surplus power or providing 100% renewable top‐up when required.

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy CEO and founder said: “Good Energy’s vision is of an energy system where control is in the hands of people, harnessing the awesome power of the UK’s natural resources, and electricity is generated by the communities who use it. The Piclo trial has provided a glimpse of what a future powered purely by renewables could look like, with everything from rooftop solar to community wind turbines playing a role”.

The trial generator participants included community energy groups, private developers, family‐owned  and charity sites ‐ City of Cardiff Council, National Trust, Westmill Solar, Community Power  Cornwall, Brixton Energy. Consumers included sustainable businesses, charities and a co‐housing  association ‐ Eden Project, Watergate Bay Hotel, Lancaster Co‐Housing, Benson Signs and BDP.

Download the report here: https://www.openutility.com/#piclo-trial-report

The Eden Project is joining Piclo, a revolutionary trial challenging the energy industry norms for electricity choice and efficiency.

The Cornwall-based visitor attraction and educational charity has signed up to be part of the six-month Piclo trial, beginning tomorrow (October 1). Piclo is a collaboration between energy startup Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy. The service is the UK’s first online market for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly.

Piclo brings the ‘sharing economy’ to the energy industry, as part of the global movement disrupting industries through apps, new business models and digital technology. The peer-to-peer energy market hands control back to the customer. Piclo gives consumers and generators the tools and data needed to have complete choice and control over pricing and consumption.

Piclo takes in all the price and preference information and matches electricity demand and supply every half hour of the day. Good Energy help ensure that the marketplace is always balanced, purchasing surplus power or providing 100% renewable top-up when required.

The Eden Project can use Piclo to unlock local energy markets. The online service allows the Eden Project to select local generators as its main supplier, creating a Cornwall-based energy market.
Piclo is available across the UK. Generators are signed up across England, Wales and Scotland, including Broadmoor Farm Solar (50kW solar farm in Dorset), Community Power Cornwall (160kW installation in Cornwall), Sustainable Hockerton (225kW wind turbine in Nottinghamshire) and Waterditch Dairy (a 100kW solar farm in Hampshire ).

Open Utility and Good Energy have partnered to trial Piclo for six months. Energy trading for generator and consumers begins on October 1st, while Piclo launches publicly in November. The innovative project is funded by The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme run by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the UK’s leading Tech for Good funder, Nominet Trust.

Piclo is currently accepting half-hourly settled generation and consumption sites. For more information and to register your interest, visit the Piclo website.

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy CEO and founder:

It’s great news that Eden Project is joining this visionary project. It’ll be really interesting to see how Piclo’s ground breaking technology will transform the energy market. Just like Good Energy, Eden Project is all about being a catalyst for positive change and this is something we passionately support as a pioneering independent energy supplier.

James Johnston, Open Utility CEO and co-founder: “Eden Project is an incredibly forward-thinking organisation that are pushing the boundaries of sustainability.

“They’re challenging preconceptions about what is possible to do, what is possible to build, and they’ve created this amazing environment that delights everyone who goes there. To power these biomes, they need a lot of electricity – and what better to source this electricity from efficient, local renewable generators.

“We’re looking forward to having Eden Project as part of Piclo, as the online service represents a step change for the energy industry. From October, we will be one step closer to our vision of a local, low cost and democratised energy industry.”

Gus Grand, Head of Policy at the Eden Project, said:

“We’re pleased and proud to be part of the Piclo trial. Eden has a long history of supporting renewable energy generation and we feel that Piclo has the potential to revolutionise the energy market, connecting customers with their energy suppliers in a way that hasn’t previously been possible.”


Georgie, a smartphone designed for blind people, by blind people, has been launched to transform the lives of the almost 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss.

Lady using the Georgie smartphone especially designed for blind and visually impaired people
Developed by not-for-profit social enterprise Screenreader and available through exclusive partners Sight and Sound Technology, the new smartphone includes apps built specifically to help blind users navigate day-to-day obstacles like catching a bus, reading printed text and knowing their exact whereabouts in unfamiliar areas.
Tasks more commonly associated with smartphones like using Twitter, reading text messages and shooting a camera have also been updated to be much easier to use and accessible to visually impaired people for the first time.

Georgie, named after Margaret’s first Golden Labrador guide dog, is the work of 18 months of development and testing, working closely with the blind community for their feedback.
Georgie makes use of Google’s Android operating system and existing Samsung phones like the Samsung XCover and Galaxy Ace 2, picked specifically to be easy to use for blind users. The large buttons on an uncluttered screen, voice feedback whenever the screen’s touched and an innovative way to select the desired option also make the basic functions of the phone easier to use for visually impaired people, as well as those unfamiliar with modern technology.

“I was able to send my very first text just earlier this year thanks to Georgie” said Screenreader co-founder Roger Wilson-Hinds. “It’s exactly that type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight. More than that though, it’s also going to help solve every day problems for blind people so they can be more confident about navigating the real world and become independent.”

Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology added “Companies like Apple and Google have done a good job of adding accessibility tools to smartphones, but Georgie is the first smartphone solution developed with the visually impaired in mind. For that reason Georgie offers relevant features which, coupled with our expertise in offering customer support to the blind community, makes for a really exciting, well supported product that we’re proud to exclusively distribute.”

Out of the box Georgie comes with features to let users dial a number with the voice assisted touchscreen, manage contacts, use speech input to send text messages and tag previous routes or hazards (like potholes or low hanging branches) using the navigation apps.

A variety of additional apps are also available for purchase and bundled into three different packages, Travel, Lifestyle or Communicate, to add more functions to support different aspects of daily life that blind people may currently find challenging. These bundles are available for £24.99 each and include the following extra features:

Near me – find places of interest – everything from bus stops and cafes to the local zoo.
Buses – know when the next bus is arriving and when to get off
Weather – forecasts for any area
Audio Player – listen to audio books, talking newspapers and podcasts
Voice Assistant – ask almost any question and an answer is returned in audio format
Colour – find the colour of an object or garment
Assistance – call a helper who can tell you exactly where you are
Audio Tagging – add a sound clip to images so they can easily be found later
OCR – turn a photo into a text document that can be listened to and saved
Camera Assistant – take a photo and be told what it is (rice pudding or a tin of beans)
Twitter – send and receive tweets
Blogs – record and broadcast audio blogs

Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation) are announcing a new £600,000 funding programme. The funding will be available to charity-led initiatives to develop any one of eight new digital products that will better help young people look after their mental health and wellbeing.

The eight ideas have been generated jointly by young people, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals through the Innovation Labs Project which ran from Oct 2011 – April 2012.

Not for profit organisations can apply to develop any or all of the eight ideas and can work with a private partner, provided they are leading the project.


The eight ideas are:

  • Mind’s Eye: An online mood monitoring & wellbeing tool reflecting and linking mood to young people’s lives.
  • Madlyinlove: A website dedicated to love and mental health issues – for young people with mental health problems and their partners.
  • Doc Ready: A digital tool to support young people visiting their GP to ensure they use their consultation time effectively.
  • Medfacts: Easy to understand and reliable online information and advice on how prescribed drugs may influence mental and physical health (including side effects) plus simple explanations of how the medications work.
  • Keep the trust: Sympathetic online support, advice and informal training for adult non-health professionals identified by young people (i.e. youth workers and teachers) around young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
  • My Places: Online mapping of services available locally to a young person to assist them in ensuring good mental health and wellbeing with ability for services to be rated and have feedback.
  • MiniMe (formerly Tamagotchi & Me / Crisis): A personal interactive recovery guide using information inputted by the user on their activity, environment and mood with the ability to issue an alert to friends & family of the need for support.
    Job for Me: Online service to support young people with / recovering from mental health issues on their journey employment, education, and training.
  • The development of young people’s mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of the project, and further funding from the partners will help to get young people directly involved in the decision-making process. Evaluation work will also be undertaken to review learning and good practice from developing and implementing the new ideas.

Young people will help ensure that services fully meet their needs by participating in the grant-making and product development/ implementation processes over the next two years.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust explains: “We are always looking for projects which demonstrate the power of digital technology to change lives for the better. This programme presents a real opportunity to work with young people to develop the digital tools they need to transform their lives in practical ways. It will take the ideas of young people with mental health issues and make them happen.”

Susan Blishen, Right Here Project Manager adds: “Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation, through the national Right Here programme, are committed to giving young people a voice and a choice in the way that services look after their mental health. The Innovation Labs initiative is an exciting new development which will see a suite of digital products, conceived and developed by young people themselves, which will be accessible and effective in supporting the emotional wellbeing of thousands of young people across the UK.”

Gilly Green, Comic Relief’s Head of UK Grants says: “Comic Relief is pleased to work in collaboration with other funders on this new programme which has young people at its heart and will support the voluntary and community sector in using digital technology for innovative service delivery.”

Cernis have published a report outlining the methods and approaches adopted during phase 1 of the Innovation Labs Project to generate ideas around how technology can help young people look after their mental health. A copy can be downloaded here.

The Invitation to Apply document alongside the Functional Specs for each of the eight product ideas can be found at www.innovationlabs.org.uk

Funding will be allocated around £47K per idea and the deadline for Expressions of Interest is 12 noon on Wednesday 5 September 2012. The grants can start being spent from January 2013 and must be fully spent by June 2014.

For further information, please contact:

Mental Health Foundation Press Office: Marine Jamet Tel: 020 7803 1110 mjamet@mhf.org.uk
Nominet Trust Press Office: Munro & Forster: Sarah Brown/Lorraine Calvey Tel: 020 7815 3900 sarah.brown@munroforster.com or Lorraine.calvey@munroforster.com
About the Innovation Labs Project:

The Innovation Labs Project is a partnership between Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation).

The aim of this UK-wide project is to work with young people aged 16-25, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals to explore how technology could better help young people look after their mental health.

The project began with a seven-month idea-generation process, delivered by Cernis and steered by a project team made up of the three partners and young people from Right Here, B-eat, Rethink Mental Illness and Dipex.

About 200 ideas were generated through two Innovation Labs events and a three-month online incubation period which involved around 40 young people (16-25 years old) and about 60 technology, youth work and mental health professionals.

The final eight ideas were selected and each one will be developed with around £47,000 in funding via this new programme.