Can technology really offer ‘social good’

21 Nov 2021

Blog 5

As part of Hymans Robertson Better Futures 100: technology campaign, Marcella Boyle, Chief Executive Officer for the Hymans Robertson Foundation discusses ‘tech for good’. The Foundation has built such strong relationships with our charity partners; it’s great to see how our support goes some way to helping build better futures for generations to come.

The Hymans Robertson Foundation (HRF) recognises that harnessing the expertise of technology and digital talent offers “social good”.  We offer specialist volunteering opportunities to the firm’s own staff and leverage our strong relationship with the Scottish Tech Army (where our CEO is also an Ambassador).  The Foundation continues to explore new opportunities to bring skilled volunteer staff to help our charity partners scope and then resource technical / data / projects which can make a real difference to the people they work with and the communities they serve.

Last year, we took our “Tech for Good” support directly to young people. As the pandemic deepened, our charity network reported on the increasing isolation facing young people: impacting on their mental health and wellbeing and creating barriers for young people to keep connected with school / training / work and socially.  Our partners were delivering digitally but not all young people could engage. Was there a role for the Foundation to bridge the data and technology gap?

Working with our Foundation partners, we designed the Bursary: a direct grant for young people who needed financial support to “keep connected”. Over the last 12 months we have supported over 100 UK young people in total and nearly 50 young people to buy kit and data: removing barriers for the young person to keep in school, progress to further / higher education or take up employment opportunities. “This money will be a big help towards my laptop for my new college studies as the laptop will help towards my studies and future work.”

Barnardo’s is one of the Foundation partners that disperses the Bursary across the UK. Tommy McDade, Acting Head of Employment, Training and Skills UK/Barnardo’s told us:-

“HRF Bursary has been used for a wide range of things but I am particularly pleased to see how much it has supported young people when they have secured a job or apprenticeship… (it) really does help the young person to start the job and settle in without worrying about these things”.

At our September charity partners event, the Board of Trustees heard, first hand, the positive and direct impact the Bursary has had on young people. With a small amount of direct funding, young people have been able to re-engage and stay connected.

If you’d like to hear more about our Bursary, how to volunteer for digital / technology project / support for young people, get in touch. We are keen to share and help you advocate / influence your own employer organisations to do even more.