🎊 Celebration of Achievement – 4th January 2024🎓

We’ll be welcoming in the New Year with a Celebration of Achievement at 131 The Venue on Linthorpe Road.

2023 has been a huge year for The Hope Foundation and furbdit; both projects have grown enormously. We’d like to give you an insight into what we’ve been doing at The Hope Foundation and what we have in store for 2024.

We’ll be hearing from people who The Hope Foundation has worked with to achieve qualifications, get online and get access to technology, find work and try out technologies that have helped them in their everyday lives. Learners who have worked hard to achieve qualifications will be presented with their certificates and there will be food, information stalls and fun activities for the whole family.

Join us for an afternoon of celebration and to find out what we have in store for 2024.

Please RSVP by using this link or speak to someone in centre to let us know that you’re coming, how many guests you’ll be bringing and whether you have any dietary requirements.

🏆 #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.

This summer’s awards

The Hope Foundation has had a busy summer! We had no less then four nominations for two different awards ceremonies!

First up was the Tees Tech Awards. We were finalists in the Tech for Good category for our work
setting up furbdit,  a partnership working to reduce digital poverty. Furbdit collects unwanted devices and IT equipment, refurbishes it and breathes new life into it to give out in the community. We collect laptops, tablets, phones, PCs – anything that can still be used and have already worked with the South Tees Paediatric Diabetes Team, Step Forward Tees Valley and are looking forward to doing even more with your donation.

Next up was the Tees Valley Civic Awards. The Hope Foundation won the business award for Helping People Learn, for our work during covid. We loaned devices and data to many of our learners so we could continue delivering courses and people could continue learning and gain qualifications, even when they couldn’t get into centre. For some, these devices were also a lifeline for keeping in touch with friends and family and being able to look after their own health online.

Our careers advisor, Kim, was also finalist in two categories: Helping People Learn and Improving Job Opportunities.

After such a difficult year it was amazing to be invited to both events and see we’re a part of great things going on in Middlesbrough

Our NCFE assessor said

The Hope Foundation was awarded Direct Claims status for our Functional Skills English and Maths qualifications in May 2021.

Over both visits Hope was commended for the organisation of the visit and the quality of assessment.
Some areas of good practice highlighted by our assessor:

Assessors across the sample provide consistently accurate, constructive, developmental and specific feedback in
relation to the qualification specification.

Assessor feedback across the qualifications covered today allows the learner to understand what they have done
well and how what to focus on to further improve It clear from the practices seen today that the centre allocates sufficient time for the internal quality assurance of products covered in this EQA review (6.12).

IQA feedback is per cohort/assessment group and structured as general feedback, good practice, points for
development and actions. IQAs use examples from Assessor feedback to each learner to substantiate judgements and provide specific and constructive developmental feedback. This is good practice as it enables Assessors to learn from IQA feedback and provides the opportunity for IQAs to target individual and team CPS.

Minutes of meetings held since the last EQA review have been submitted for today that clearly demonstrate that
communication remains well planned, robust and effective.

CPD logs show good evidence of the training the team has undergone as a result of the January review.

Our Middlesbrough College auditor said…

The Hope Foundation subcontracts for Middlesbrough College. Therefore all our courses are Middlesbrough College courses, and an auditor comes to check our delivery every month.

In October 2021 our auditor found that our learners were all happy at Hope. They understood their targets, which were personal to them and that their individual needs were catered for. There was a good, happy and relaxed atmosphere in the classroom which made learners want to attend and complete the course. The learners said:

Q: The Teaching on the course is good?
Yes, it has been great and Georgia is amazing.

Q: I have received training on Prevent and Community (British) Values?
“mutual respect is very important and democracy.”

Q: I feel safe on the course?
“Yes, very safe.”

Q: I know who to contact if I am struggling with my studies?
“Georgia helps a lot and you can ask her everything.”

Q: Do you know how this course will help you in your future employment’
Yes, we can write letters, job applications and we can communicate.


Mark was working in the construction agency when he first came to The Hope Foundation in 2019. He held a precarious role as a subcontractor and had mostly short-term domestic work which meant he also relied on benefits. Mark wanted to progress within the construction industry. His aim was to become a Health and Safety Inspector in construction which would also mean more regular work and secure employment.

At his first appointment with Kim they researched the job role Mark was looking for, the entry requirements and skills he would need. They then devised a Skills Action Plan planning which skills he would need to work on and which qualifications he would need to gain. Mark would study towards Functional Skills English and ECDL at The Hope Foundation. Though ICT wasn’t a direct requirement for the role, having ICT skills and a qualification would be an advantage for him in securing work and also being able to do this new job effectively.

In order to make the move to work on larger construction and engineering sites, Kim referred Mark to Routes to Work who helped him achieve some of the essential entry requirements: CCNSG (site safety passport) and a CSCS card.

They worked together to create a CV and cover letter so he would be able to approach employers speculatively and Kim introduced Mark to LinkedIn with Advice and Guidance on how to create an effective profile, using his research to ensure this profile matched the entry requirements for the job he was aiming for, CV and cover letter to find work.

For just over a year, Mark attended courses at Hope and received support from Kim, National Careers Services, Routes to Employment and partner organisations. Since August 2020 he has been fully qualified and in full-time, secure employment as a Health and Safety Inspector in logistics.


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.”