🏆 #TeesTechAwards2023 chosen charity and Tech for Good finalist

We had a fabulous night at the Tees Tech Awards last night, celebrating digital innovation on Teesside. Over 300 people attended, representing organisations and companies across Teesside.

Hope was the chosen charity for the evening, so our CEO, Sue, was invited to give one of the opening speeches. She talked about digital poverty and the massive impact furbdit has had on Teesside since covid. By repurposing and gifting devices and technology, we’re providing a lifeline to local people to health services, friends, financial management, education, work and many other things.

We were really inspired on the night by the great work in digital innovation happening across the region and proud of furbdit’s nomination in the Tech for Good category. David and Sue collected our award.

A huge thank you to everyone who attended and raised £920 towards our work on the night itself. We’re really encouraged by your support. It was really exciting to meetpeople at the forefront of technology on Teesside who are keen to find out more about Hope and furbdit and support the work we do. We can’t wait to get that ball rolling, exciting times ahead!

You can read all about the event, finalists and winners at teesbusiness.co.uk.

Welcome Luke!

We want to thank Luke, our Teesside University volunteer, for all the countless hours he has given to help refurbish the many laptops and desktops we have had donated since we’ve been based at our Launchpad refurbishment centre.
He has also helped out with the IT students from Middlesbrough College when they have been volunteering, showing them how to turn some of the computers with parts missing or broken back into usable devices that can go out into the community.
To reward him for all his efforts and the expert knowledge he brings to the team, we are delighted to announce he will join us as a full-time employee!

furbdit donation to South Tees Paediatric Diabetes team

Dear Sue and Staff at The Hope Foundation,

I am writing to express our deepest thanks and gratitude for your king donation of refurbished lap tops. These will be of tremendous help to our families who did nat have the funds to purchase a lap top and will allow them to download the data from their child’s blood glucose meters and or insulin pumps.

This is important as it allows the team to review their data between clinic appointments and offer advice on insulin adjustment in a timely manner and will reduce the need for some families to have to come to hospital more often.

The benefit of virtual adjustment of insulin, in a timely manner, mean that any risk of a child developing life-long complications of diabetes are reduced as we can optimise their control and ensure they remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. In addition it reduces the financial burden on the parents as visits to the hospital can not only be costly due to parking charges but also require working parents to take time out of work.

We have already distributed 10 of the lap tops and have identified families for the remainder and the response following your kind donation has been overwhelming with 6 of the farnilies downloading within 24 hours of receiving a lap top.

Can you please thank your supporters too (on our behalf) as I am sure they too would be happy to know that their support is very much appreciated.

Kind regards

Alison Murray

On behalf of the paediatric diabetes team

South Tees Hospitals.


Visit https://furbdit.org.uk/ to find out how to get involved.

Hopefields with donation

furdbit donation to Hopefields Education CIC

We dropped off some much needed desktop computers and laptops to Hopefields Education CIC School who support young people in the Tees Valley that are hard to reach and hard to place, offering high quality, specialist education.
“Hopefields are so grateful to FurbdIT for the recent donation. The desktop computers will enable learners to practice their digital skills, enabling them to create CVs, research employment options and and help them make the leap into further education, employment or training. ” Emily Greenhalgh
Visit https://furbdit.org.uk/ to find out how to get involved.
job advert

furdbit IT is recruiting for a Business Development Manager

furdbit IT is a partnership working to reduce digital poverty.

We’re recruiting for a Business Development Manager


To find out more about furbdit, visit the website.

Click here to see the jobs descriptions and download an application pack.

Completed application forms should be emailed to suekearney@hope-foundation.org.uk.

Closing date: 31st August

Interviews: 6th and 8th September

furbdit is recruiting

furdbit IT is a partnership working to reduce digital poverty.

We’re recruiting for two posts: Business Development Manager and Support Officer. 


To find out more about furbdit, visit the website.

Click here to see the jobs descriptions and download an application pack.

Completed application forms should be emailed to suekearney@hope-foundation.org.uk.


Tony was referred to The Hope Foundation by Step Forward Tees Valley to work towards Functional Skills Maths Level 2.

He says, “I wanted to improve my skills and confidence to get back to working life! I had a full career and had worked all of my life – personal circumstances changed and I found life spiralling out of my control. Times were hard and often I had thought ‘what’s the point and felt worthless. I started learning whilst still experiencing personal difficulties. Then came COVID which really scuppered my plans.”

On the first day “I was really nervous and anxious – I spoke to Kim (careers adviser), before coming to the Hope Foundation, over the phone. Kim explained what to expect and what would happen at induction. All of the staff made me feel welcome – I have found the staff both kind and respectful and ready to listen and offer support. The Hope Foundation asked what help and support I needed and we agreed discussion with my tutor and to have breaks when I felt overwhelmed.

I only had a mobile phone so couldn’t access remote learning during the covid lockdowns. The Digital Library supported with a device and technical support; something that I could not afford and gave me a lifeline to learn and access services online. This was a great help as I could still access learning and other support services.
I had been told from my navigator that they The Hope Foundation had small classes and remote learning options but there is so much more to the place!

I am a different person to the man that stepped through the door on my first day! I looked forward to my classes and attending. Attending and learning at Hope gave me confidence to move forward.

I have achieved confidence and skills to move forward and now volunteer in a reception and caretaker role in a community venue.”

Barbara and Jeanette

At the beginning of the first lockdown, ABM asked for volunteers to help provide technical support over the phone for older people in the area.

Fast forward and they now have 14 volunteers. One of the first to respond was Jeanette Power Jepson who had previously attended Tea and Tech at the Hope Foundation.
“Given that Ageing Better Middlesbrough has helped me achieve certain goals, I felt like I wanted to help others who were in my position.

David initially taught me how to shop online, use WhatsApp, surf the web, and generally become more up to speed with my device, so I really felt like I could help those who needed it.
The framework they provided was great too. It was very well structured, and I knew I was in a good position to pick up the phone and begin talking.”

For many ABM members, becoming part of the digital world is daunting and providing digital support during the Covid pandemic has been even more challenging for the team, but also really important:
“Giving information and digital support for people who had to stay home was vital. Many of them are worried, which only heightens their fear of having to use technology. It’s a domino effect…

I’ve helped people with doctor’s appointments, downloading games, WhatsApp, sending photos and emails, video calling and lots more. Once these steps are complete, you feel a huge sense of pride. Their reaction over the phone (when they complete various tasks), is fantastic.”

Barbara Gibbon’s story

73-year-old Barbara Gibbon is just one of the people who has benefitted from Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s digital volunteer initiative. She has received help from Jeanette (above) over the last few months and believes she has come on leaps and bounds.

“Initially I got a call from Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s Befriending Service to see how I was. I happened to mention that I struggled with technology during the call.

Their Digital Inclusion Officer, David, gave me help with online shopping, and after that, Jeanette has helped me with lots of other things.

To my amazement, I was able to send photos to my granddaughter who lives in Manchester… I even video called her! I think she was just as surprised as me when she saw the phone ringing.

I’m hoping to learn a lot more from Jeanette in the future, she’s been a saviour for me over the last couple of months. I’m also going to meet the team in person to thank them, and hopefully attend ‘Tea and Technology’ sessions.

The fact that Ageing Better Middlesbrough are providing an outlet like this is brilliant. I really appreciate their efforts. It’s given me a new lease of life and I’d be completely stuck without them. My daughter is less worried knowing I can video call her now too.”


Neil* (not his real name)

Neil heard about the Hope Foundation from Saint John of God. He had to move to Middlesbrough during the covid pandemic and found himself isolated in a new place.

He came to The Hope Foundation wanting to gain qualifications, find our about volunteering opportunities and get connected. He says, “The conversation with Kim was so much more. We talked about my long term and future goals in football coaching and Kim gave advice and guidance on the different sectors that this opens for me such as supporting others in difficult situations using sport. We started with Kim completing a CV to apply for voluntary positions and introducing me to MFC Foundation a support organisation for people like myself to make new contacts through sport. We also talked about entry requirements that employers would be looking for as well as experience and I now know the steps and links to be made to achieve this.

Kim referred me to the Hope Digital Library as I had expressed motivation and interest to learn but I only have a mobile phone device. David dropped off a laptop.

The Hope Foundation has made a big difference to my mental health; connecting me to my goals by informing me of the opportunities available in the Middlesbrough area. I moved to the area around September last year and because of lockdown felt excluded being in a new town and not knowing the services available. The Hope Foundation has help me to understand the steps I need to take to get there and feel more positive about my future and how I can progress.”

Neil went on to study for qualifications with Hope and now volunteers in a community football session and is working towards an FA Playmaker Award with MFC Foundation.


Nilam was referred to The Hope Foundation in March 2021 by Step Forward Tees Valley. She volunteers for Mind and says, “I needed a device to fill out my call logs and email them to Mind. I also wanted to learn how to access government services, like applying for a passport and railcard.

Getting support from Ageing Better at The Hope Foundation has given me the skills to use a computer to complete forms on Google Docs, attach them and send via email for my volunteering with Mind’s telephone befriending service. It has also given me confidence and courage to do things on my own rather than relying on my children to do it for me.

I learned how to use Google Docs and email as well as how to apply for a passport and railcard. I use it to search the internet to find websites and information, shopping. David has supported me to do this through regular 121s. He has been very patient with me, breaking everything down and writing step-by-step guides I can take home to practice with. This type of service in the community is invaluable and a great asset for people that struggle with IT to have. I would recommend the Hope Foundation to anyone who is struggling and needs that extra support. I’m looking forward to continuing my learning with the courses at the Hope Foundation. My aim is to pass my level one ECDL to give me the qualification and skills to help me on my journey to going to University to study psychology.”