Do you want Think Big to support your local community?
by Mark Adams-Wright: Managing Partner Local Government and Education, Telefónica UK
A few years ago, I was the Chief Information Officer for Suffolk County Council. Working for the council, I saw first-hand the importance of inspiring the younger generation within the community. With 2.3 million digital workers required by 2020 to power the UK’s digital economy, it’s no wonder many local councils are working hard to equip young people with the digital skills they need for the jobs of the future.
At O2, we’re here to help. We’re very proud of our Think Big programme that offers young people (aged 13-25) volunteering and work shadowing opportunities in their local area. This helps them gain the skills they need to start their careers while building their sense of community in the process.
For me, the best part of Think Big is the £300 grants they offer young people to fund a project within their local community. Think Big supports the projects every step of the way, from ideas and applications to planning and delivery. On average, each Think Big project directly benefits 18.5 young people and impacts over 90 people in the community. And, since 2010, Think Big has funded the projects of over 7,000 young people across the UK.
When Think Big grants were offered to young people as part of the Digital Communities project in St. Helens, the enthusiasm I saw was inspiring. But the success of the project in St Helens was only made possible thanks to the backing of St Helens Council and college. So now, we’re looking for the same support from other areas of the country.
Do you work for a local authority or housing association? Do you have ambitions that Think Big could help make a reality, such as boosting community integration using digital tools or tackling unemployment in deprived areas? If yes, I urge you to come forward. Or, if you’re a young person who has an idea but needs more support, why not encourage your local council to contact us?
If you want Think Big to run an event in your area and you’re able to provide a venue, please drop an email to my colleague Luke James to get the ball rolling.
 University of Durham study commissioned by O2
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