The independent judging panel selected five finalists for the WCIT Charity IT Award from a strong field of applicants.

The WCIT Charity is looking forward to getting to know the charities and their proposed projects during the due diligence phase over the summer. All finalists passing the due diligence phase will present their projects to members of the WCIT on 17 September 2018 and the award winner will be announced on 10 October 2018.

Beanstalk

Literacy charity Beanstalk proposes to double its reach by developing digital, interactive 1-1 reading support for disadvantaged children in rural areas via tech solutions such as Skype, the use of quality digital resources and integrating enhanced impact measurement. 175,000 children still leave primary school every year without the literacy skills they need. The project will scale-up a new way in which volunteers can deliver reading support from their desks, and enable Beanstalk to reach 30,000 children by 2021.

“We are really excited to have been shortlisted for the WCIT Charity IT Award, which would support the digital transformation of our small but growing charity. Beanstalk provides one-to-one reading support to children across England and with this award to invest in digital, we would be able to increase our reach to more children in need as well as improve our impact.” Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk

CALM

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) would like to develop and pioneer an AI chatbot to enable them to offer 24/7 support to more men who feel they have nowhere to turn. This will significantly increase capacity and allow CALM to prevent more suicides (76% of suicides in the UK are male). The chatbot would be integrated into CALM’s webchat and other platforms and provide an intelligent hold service to low-risk users. By carefully building, testing and refining the AI with support of an expert AI agency, and by involving CALM’s charity partners, the technology can be tailored and shared to dramatically improve support across the sector.

“We are delighted to be included in the shortlist for WCIT Charity IT award. The vast majority of frontline mental health services in the UK are profoundly analogue, leading to long wait times, inefficient use of limited human resource and the type of customer experience that simply would not be tolerated in any other context. We hope to be able to change that and with the effective use of technology save more lives.” Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM

Missing People

Missing People propose to develop an ambitious ‘one safe click’ approach to drastically increase the charity’s capacity to reach everyone affected by a disappearance – a number that is estimated to be one million people a year. The work will involve several partners and use multiple channels (WhatsApp, Skype, social media), chatbots as well as a mobile enabled platform to reach more people and provide support, including via online communities. Once the technology is created Missing People would like to share it sector-wide to achieve maximum impact.

“We are delighted that the esteemed judging panel has shortlisted Missing People. 180,000 children and adults go missing each year in the UK, many more than once. Going missing indicates vulnerability including mental health, child sexual exploitation, relationship breakdown, or abuse. Our Project, ‘One Safe Click’ will ensure that everyone affected can get help anytime, anywhere, on any device.” Jo Youle, CEO of Missing People

The Brain Tumour Charity

The Brain Tumour Charity has put forward the idea of developing BRIAN (Brain tumouR Information and Analysis Network). This collaborative medical data-sharing initiative aims to drastically improve the currently poor research outcomes for those diagnosed with a brain tumour. People will interact with BRIAN using multiple channels (PC, tablet, smartphone), willingly generating data that can be used to join up patients, scientists and clinicians in the battle to defeat brain tumours. The platform will initially be UK-focused and link to UK healthcare data, but the ambition is to turn it into a global initiative over time to achieve a step-change in research into brain tumours.

“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award in recognition of our innovative work to harness the power of information technology for all those affected by a brain tumour. Our databank, BRIAN, offers people living with a brain tumour and their carers the opportunity to share their medical records, learn from the experiences of others, make better-informed decisions about their treatment and help clinicians and scientists accelerate research to find a cure for a disease that kills more children and adults under 40 than any other form of cancer.” Sarah Lindsell, CEO of The Brain Tumour Charity

Whizz-Kidz

After nearly 30 years of experience providing mobility equipment for disabled children and young people, Whizz-Kidz are taking on the challenge of reimagining the wheelchair for the 21st Century. In collaboration with the Design and Engineering schools at the University of Edinburgh, Whizz-Kidz want to explore how cutting edge technology can be used to drive innovation in paediatric wheelchairs and further enhance the lives of young disabled people. This ambitious two year project aims to deliver a prototype which manufacturers will either be able to produce en masse or use to improve products that currently exist. Crucially the intention is to also deliver this new product at a low enough price point to make it eligible for purchase by NHS Wheelchair Services, therefore widening its availability to as many young disabled people as possible.

“Young wheelchair users always come last – last to make friends, last to have fun, last to get a job. They are also the last to benefit from the amazing advances in technology that have so benefitted everyone else in society. That is why we are thrilled to have been shortlisted by the WCIT for their Charity IT Award – because it shows the WCIT is willing to think about putting young wheelchair users first. This is a unique moment in time to bring the benefits of modern technology forward to re-imagine the powered wheelchair and could be genuinely life changing for tens of thousands of young wheelchair users here and across the world.” Ruth Owen OBE, CEO of Whizz-Kidz