By Jess Wilson, National Director Good Things Foundation - 25 November 2019
In October 2019, the Be Connected Network turned 2. That’s two years of free local support for people aged over 50 in their communities, by organisations they can know and trust.
In that time, the Be Connected Network has gone from a handful of committed organisations, to a growing movement several thousand strong. With the number of Network Partners now over 2,700, we are counting down the days until we reach 3,000 Network Partners located across Australia!
There are Network Partners all over the country, from King Island to the Cocos Islands, from Bunbury to the tip of Cape York, from inner-city Melbourne to Pupunya in Central Australia. It’s been exciting to see the reach of the Network grow.
With the passing of the two year mark, we took the time to crunch the numbers and reflect on all that we have achieved together.
In just two years, the Be Connected Network has:
Engaged 250,000 people in digital skills programs
Recruited 8,800 digital mentors
Held 2,000+ digital skills engagement events
Supported learners to completed 185,000+ learning activities on the Be Connected Learning Portal
What a fantastic achievement for the 2,700 community organisations that make up the Be Connected Network!
A diverse Network
We know the Be Connected Network is diverse, made up of organisations both big and small, experienced with digital inclusion programs and brand new to supporting their community in this important area. We often say it is the Network’s diversity which is its strength. The diversity means that people have the opportunity to find friendly support in an environment they feel comfortable in whether it’s a library, a men’s shed, a community centre, a retirement village, a historical society or a local bowls club.
Although we are diverse, what we all have in common is a passion for ensuring that everyone in our community has the opportunity to thrive in a digital world.
Supporting the Network
It has been the Good Things Foundation team’s privilege to build, coordinate, upskill and support the Network to achieve this amazing outcome for digital inclusion in Australia. From awarding $12 million in grants, through to answering 4,500 helpline calls, or hosting over 150 webinars and 44 face-to-face events around the country, we have loved playing our part to create real impact through the Be Connected program.
We have also loved hearing your stories about the way this program has made a difference in your community.
“We have created a great community, We’ve created a club. And people want to come for that club. You know they could be doing Be Connected modules online at home, but they keep coming back for that social interaction.” Megan Grant, Digital Mentor from Rostrata Family Centre, WA.
“For me, as an organiser, to see that sparkle of the smile in their eye and their face that they actually could do something that possibly they thought they were too old or too dumb or too slow to use. That's the buzz or satisfaction I got out of it - the satisfaction on people’s faces.” Kerry Grace, Get Online Week event organiser from Darwin Men's Shed, NT.
“Be Connected events are popular not just because of the learning content, but because they are combined with entertainment and food, all the great ingredients to change people’s perspectives on their lives.” Maree Fayne, digital mentor at Hawkesbury Community Outreach Services, NSW.
We know there is still much more to do to close the digital divide and support the 2.5 million Australians who are not online. But together, we have started something really special.
We look forward to continuing our work together to support all Australians have the skills and confidence they need to participate in our digital world.