Public benefit has always been a core component of Nominet’s mission, even before it became part of our constitution in 2010. I am proud of the work we do every day to deliver a connected, inclusive and secure future for internet users across the UK.
Building on our work to date tackling issues such as digital exclusion, skills and young peoples’ mental health, I am also proud that the Board has committed to ensuring 10% of our annual revenue goes to our social impact programmes. This is on top of the considerable investment we make every year protecting the UK’s internet infrastructure, which is a public benefit of a different kind.
Over the past few years, we have worked hard to make the impact of our public benefit activity deliver tangible and measurable impact. We have evolved our focus to do so, working with partners to identify gaps and target opportunities where we can make the biggest difference.
For example, working with Samaritans we invested £175,000 to help develop an online self-help tool and an Intelligence Dashboard for Volunteers. Within one week of launching the self-help tool over 1,500 people had downloaded it, and more than 30,000 have now used it to help improve their lives.
As part of our #RESET Mental Health Programme fund of £685,000 we have provided grants to eight mental health charities working with young people. One example is stem4 where a grant of £75,000 has enabled the organisation to reach 38,700 young people in the UK.
We are also playing our part to support those addressing online harms and protecting children. Through grants of over £400,000 we are supporting the Internet Watch Foundation and the Child Online Exploitation and Protection Command (part of the National Crime Agency) to innovate in how they tackle child abuse online. We have also dedicated £250,000 to internet safety working with ChildNet and South West Grid for Learning – these programmes will reach over half a million young people over the next two years.
For the 12 months to June, we will have invested £4 million, more than double the previous year. More importantly, we will have exceeded our target of positively impacting one million lives in response to some of the most important digital issues facing young people today.
Doing the right thing, not just the quickest thing, does take time. The #RESET Mental Health Programme was 18 months in the making. Our upcoming fund on internet safety for children in care began life as a research report in 2019. Whilst we are in a rush to make a positive impact, we make sure each programme is carefully thought through.
And there is always more to do.
In committing 10% of future revenue to supporting social impact programmes, we can expand our activity even further.
We also want to work more closely with our members; this year our annual cause marketing campaign will be more flexible, so you can decide who, from a range of options, you want to support.
In my view, Nominet is very much on the right course, and I hope our members will agree and help us continue our journey.