FIVE charities are to benefit from free membership of north east tech network Dynamo.

The regional tech champions wanted to help the work of the charities while at the same time promoting their ‘tech for good’ agenda.

Dawn Dunn, Cluster Manager at Dynamo, explained: “Tech has the power to be a catalyst for social change by helping organisations or communities do a more effective job. Tech for good is a priority for Dynamo and our partnerships with these five charities – Datakind, The Key, Great North Air Ambulance, Altitude Foundation and Connected Voice – will make a genuine difference to the organisations and the people they help.

“We talk a lot to Dynamo members about tech for good so these five 12-month free memberships are us putting that into practice. We selected charities whose ethos aligns with our own, and who we thought would gain practical benefits from free membership.”

Datakind is a charity providing data science support to the third sector; The Key is a regional charity working to grow the talent in our region; Great North Air Ambulance operates a helicopter emergency service for the north of England; Altitude Foundation runs programmes to help young people into tech jobs, while Connected Voice, formerly Newcastle CVS, has been supporting the voluntary sector and communities of Tyneside since 1929.

Dawn said: “These charities are doing important work regionally and nationally. For instance, Altitude Foundation has been grappling with the consequences of the Covid pandemic for some of the most disadvantaged people in our region. Lockdown has exposed the challenges of digital exclusion faced disproportionately by many young people in the North East, and highlighted the need for regional stakeholders like Dynamo to come together to ensure no young person is left behind.”

Colin Ferguson, Altitude Foundation’s General Manager, said: “Before the pandemic, we were acutely aware of the barriers our target cohort faced to finding out more about the opportunities in digital and tech available right here in the North East. Lockdown has only solidified the challenge.

“We know there will be much to do in the coming months and years to ensure that young people who want to can develop their programming and coding skills, find out more about career opportunities available in our region, and go on to be the future employees in a growing sector that will be of increasing significance to the economy of the North East.

“The timing of this offer of membership to Dynamo couldn’t be better. Our programme depends on input from industry partners. We’re all dependent on developing the right skills for the workforce of tomorrow. Being a part of the Dynamo conversation, meeting new partners and continuing to develop our understanding of the sector’s developing character, will be invaluable to realising our mission.”

Lisa Goodwin, CEO of Connected Voice, added: “As an organisation working at the heart of the voluntary sector, we’re delighted to have received in-kind membership to Dynamo. A key focus of our work is developing our digital offer to improve both the work of the charity sector, and the quality of support accessed by individuals. We can’t wait to be part of Dynamo to share our knowledge and connect with other Dynamo members.”

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the north east tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’ It has more than 160 members which include IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.

Dynamo is part funded by the ERDF as part of the Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters project, delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork (ISN). Earlier this year it was confirmed Dynamo’s ERDF funding through ISN will continue to June 2023.

Dawn added: “The continued support from ERDF through ISN means we can continue to grow our tech clusters, increase collaboration and shout even louder about the innovation happening here and now. Many Dynamo members are playing vital roles in the response to Covid, so the timing of the renewal of ISN support is ideal.”


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