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Sarah Gilmour

Can technology really offer ‘social good’

As part of Hymans Robertson Better Futures 100: technology campaign, Marcella Boyle, Chief Executive Officer for the Hymans Robertson Foundation discusses ‘tech for good’. The Foundation has built such strong relationships with our charity partners; it’s great to see how our support goes some way to helping build better futures for generations to come.

The Hymans Robertson Foundation (HRF) recognises that harnessing the expertise of technology and digital talent offers “social good”.  We offer specialist volunteering opportunities to the firm’s own staff and leverage our strong relationship with the Scottish Tech Army (where our CEO is also an Ambassador).  The Foundation continues to explore new opportunities to bring skilled volunteer staff to help our charity partners scope and then resource technical / data / projects which can make a real difference to the people they work with and the communities they serve.

Last year, we took our “Tech for Good” support directly to young people. As the pandemic deepened, our charity network reported on the increasing isolation facing young people: impacting on their mental health and wellbeing and creating barriers for young people to keep connected with school / training / work and socially.  Our partners were delivering digitally but not all young people could engage. Was there a role for the Foundation to bridge the data and technology gap?

Working with our Foundation partners, we designed the Bursary: a direct grant for young people who needed financial support to “keep connected”. Over the last 12 months we have supported over 100 UK young people in total and nearly 50 young people to buy kit and data: removing barriers for the young person to keep in school, progress to further / higher education or take up employment opportunities. “This money will be a big help towards my laptop for my new college studies as the laptop will help towards my studies and future work.”

Barnardo’s is one of the Foundation partners that disperses the Bursary across the UK. Tommy McDade, Acting Head of Employment, Training and Skills UK/Barnardo’s told us:-

“HRF Bursary has been used for a wide range of things but I am particularly pleased to see how much it has supported young people when they have secured a job or apprenticeship… (it) really does help the young person to start the job and settle in without worrying about these things”.

At our September charity partners event, the Board of Trustees heard, first hand, the positive and direct impact the Bursary has had on young people. With a small amount of direct funding, young people have been able to re-engage and stay connected.

If you’d like to hear more about our Bursary, how to volunteer for digital / technology project / support for young people, get in touch. We are keen to share and help you advocate / influence your own employer organisations to do even more. 

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Action on Financial Education

Our CEO, Marcella Boyle, has written a blog for our funder (Hymans Robertson) on the importance of action on financial education for children and young people. Marcella shares recent UK money statistics from The Money Charity, research on inconsistencies in financial education for the younger generation by Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) , and the work the Foundation’s partner, MyBnk is doing to try to plug this gap through its Money Works programme, which it also delivers to the Foundation’s other charity partners:

“With our extended charity partner network, we recognised the need (particularly in young people’s employability programmes) to offer specialist education in managing finances. Building financial capability is a key priority for the Foundation.”

You can read Marcella’s full article, plus find links to further research, on the Hymans Robertson website: “Building better financial security through education

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Tech for Good

This month (28 April 2021), our CEO, Marcella Boyle, was pleased to join a panel discussion as part of the Scottish Tech Army (STA) “Tech for Good Summit“, alongside STA’s Alistair Forbes, Geoff Huggins from the Scottish Government, Ilaria Albanese from JP Morgan Chase, and Jane Morrison-Ross from South of Scotland Enterprise. The panel discussed Scotland’s opportunity to strengthen and develop “tech for good” volunteering within the third sector in Scotland. 

The panel focused on the very much alive and kicking, Tech for Good Ecosystem in Scotland, and the roles and contributions that organisations can make as part of the overall mission, including how the ecosystem supports the charity, volunteer, employer and customer. The challenge identified by STA is how to aggregate efforts and amplify this to reach further.

Catch the replay and discover more here: “Tech for Good Ecosystem – Aggregate and Amplify

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Extending our Bursary – supporting more Young People across the U.K.

This month, we recognize a sad one-year anniversary as the ongoing pandemic and its restrictions continue to impact on people and communities.

The Prince’s Trust launched its annual Index (January 2021) with very sobering feedback from young people across the UK[1].  This year’s Youth Index, which surveyed 2,180 16-25 year olds from across the UK, reveals:

  • 60% of young people say that getting a new job feels “impossible now” because there is so much competition
  • a quarter (24%) of young people claim that the pandemic has “destroyed” their career aspirations
  • Young people state that they are more likely to feel anxious now than at any other time since the Youth Index was first launched over a decade ago

Bursary 2020 Background

In October we launched the Hymans Robertson Bursary, aimed at retaining 16-25 year olds in education, training, volunteering or employment. The Fund is nationwide and supported by four Foundation charity partners (Barnardo’s, FARE, Prince’s Trust and Works+). Our financial education partner (MyBnk – Delivering expert-led financial education to young people) also provides wrap services around the Bursary for young people receiving funding.

Our Impact

Over the last 3 months, charity partners identified over 50 young people in the Scottish Borders, Glasgow and North England to be supported by the Bursary. Young people have been able to access funding for a range of employability and training needs (including driving lessons, interview clothing, work and training kit (tools, digital and data).  We also recognize that needs relating to mental health and wellbeing are increasing and the Bursary has been able to support young people access wellbeing sessions with trusted providers.

“the funding gave me the chance to settle in at work without worry about how I was going to get there for the first couple of months”

“the Bursary has allowed me to progress to the Employability Fund Stage 2 course”

“I have just progressed to further training and I’ll be able to do my course work independently at home with my laptop”.

“I’ve secured a new job and feel supported and far less chaotic than I did before. I’m feeling positive about my future”

What’s Next?

The Foundation is committed to supporting young people who, with a little help, can access or continue in training, volunteering and employment. From April 2021, we will double our funding for the Bursary Fund and involve a wider range of our community based charities across the UK. That means over 200 more young people will be supported in 2021/22.  Similar to our crisis approach (Hardship Fund), we will work with our local offices and communities to ensure the Bursary is accessible to young people most in need.

Get In Touch

If you feel the Bursary can support you or vulnerable young people you know, please get in touch. We can connect you to one of our charity partners who can help you access Bursary funding.


[1] Youth Index 2021 | Research, policies and reports | About The Trust | The Prince’s Trust (princes-trust.org.uk)


For information please contact Marcella Boyle, CEO, at marcella.boyle@hymans.co.uk

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Our 2020 Roundup

The Foundation started the year with a clear plan to further develop relationships with our charity partners and offer opportunities for Hyman Robertson LLP’s volunteers and fundraisers, to continue to deliver support to young people and our communities. The full extent of the global pandemic took hold, our plans adapted and funds were redirected. Despite everything 2020 threw at us, there have been some memorable and positive achievements we want to recap on.

The Hardship Fund

The Fund was launched in April, with extra funding released to help charities across the UK to meet the immediate and urgent needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. By the time funding closed, just over £45,000 had been donated to more than 30 charities, helping to provide urgent food and care packages, vital PPE, counselling and support, educational and digital tools.

Moving online

With face to face support either limited or prohibited, we worked with our Foundation partners to move our financial education support – delivered by our partner MyBnk – to an online delivery model, rolled out directly to young people who could engage remotely via our other partners. This change meant we’ve been able to help over 500 young people since the start of the pandemic.

The Foundation Bursary Fund for Young People

In October we launched the Bursary, aimed at retaining 16-25 year olds in education, training or employment. With young people disproportionately impacted by the UK recession and ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, our charity partners advised us of the urgent need for greater intervention in supporting young people in a positive destination.  The Fund has been rolled out nationwide via our existing charity partners and will operate for at least 18 months until April 2022.  In the first 3 months, the Bursary has supported over 50 young people in Glasgow, the Scottish Borders and North England. Here’s the impact of the Bursary for some young beneficiaries:

“the funding gave me the chance to settle in at work without worry about how I was going to get there for the first couple of months”

“the Bursary has allowed me to progress to the Employability Fund Stage 2 course”

“I have just progressed to further training and I’ll be able to do my course work independently at home with my laptop”.

More work is planned to expand the bursary to Birmingham/Midlands and London area in 2021.

Looking ahead

2020 has shown us that we work best when we listen and respond to the needs of community based charities and young people. We want to thank all our partners who continue to work in hard hit communities and with young people who now, more than ever need practical and expert advice to secure a positive future.

Thank you for reading this Roundup.

Marcella Boyle

CEO, February 2021

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Scottish Tech Army Podcast

Our CEO, Marcella Boyle, recently joined a podcast with Alistair Forbes and Rebecca Still from the Scottish Tech Army (STA), to discuss the opportunities and impact of digital, tech and social media resources and support available to charities through the pandemic.  

The STA has over 1000 volunteers supporting the third and public sectors.   If you think your charity could benefit from additional and expert support, why not get in touch with the STA in Scotland or Covid Tech Support for UK, Northern Ireland projects.

The podcast was hosted by Hymans Robertson LLP and is part of their ‘Fintech Feed’ technology focused podcast series. You can listen to this podcast online via the link below:

To listen to other episodes of the Fintech Feed click here.

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Charities in challenging times, ICAS webinar 11 November 2020

On Wednesday 11 November, our CEO, Marcella Boyle, is joining an expert panel hosted by ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland) Glasgow & West Area Network, to discuss how challenging times have affected charities and the third sector – in particular the impact of Covid-19 on raising funds and delivering services, and the importance of good governance.

For more information please refer to the ICAS website.

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Launching our Bursary for Young People

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Bursary Fund for 16-25 year olds. Funding will be prioritised to support young people into jobs, volunteering, further education and may also be used to financially support young people at the senior end of school.

The Bursary will be delivered via our existing charity network and applications managed by the Prince’s Trust, Barnardo’s, Works + (Scottish Borders) and FARE (Greater Glasgow). Bursary applications will open on 12th October and the fund will operate for at least 18 months until April 2022.

Launching the Bursary Fund, our Chair, Clive Fortes commented:

“Young people are, and will be, disproportionately impacted by the UK recession and ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Entry level employment opportunities have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and traditional routes to high-vacancy employment (retail, hospitality, travel and tourism) have contracted.

Our charity partners advised us of the urgent need for higher intervention in retaining young people in positive destinations – education, retraining and employability programmes, and volunteering – in the short to medium term. The Bursary is our response to this, and complements the UK and Scottish governments’ youth guarantee and employment schemes. Our financial education charity partner, MyBNK, will provide critical wrap-around support for Bursary holders to ensure that young people’s understanding of personal finance is also supported through the Bursary.

For information please contact Marcella Boyle, CEO, at marcella.boyle@hymans.co.uk


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Hardship Fund Update

In April 2020, The Foundation launched its Hardship Fund as a response to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The Foundation recognised the need to immediately support charities working with our most vulnerable communities and people. The first tranche of funding was directed at existing Foundation partners.  In June, the launch of a second tranche of funding expanded eligibility to include community-based charities across the UK supported by staff at Hymans Robertson LLP.

In the last 3 months, we were able to support a further 24 UK charities with emergency funding to provide food, care and PPE packages. As charities responded to online and remote delivery of services, funding was also used to support the provision of data and technical gadgets enabling young people to access counselling and welfare services.  

Our charity partners have demonstrated care and support to their communities throughout. Their resilience has been outstanding and humbling.  Our Chair, Clive Fortes, commented:

“It’s sobering to remember how much £250 can support: 15 families for 2 days with essential food supplies; 6 counselling appointments for young people in distress. At a time when many charities are facing reduced income and meeting increasing need, The Foundation was compelled to take immediate action.”

We are pleased to share a few of the responses from our charity partners on the positive impact that hardship funding has had:

The Hymans Robertson award has helped us to purchase PPE so that we can re-open our building to the families we support and ensure that the important connection between counsellor and family can be established.” Edward’s Trust

“We are very grateful to The Hymans Robertson Foundation for their grant, which will go towards helping Sebastian’s Action Trust provide emergency provision packs to families of seriously-ill children. Whilst lockdown restrictions for many of us are easing, for our families, the reality of isolating at home stays the same. With this grant, we will be able to provide six families with much-needed emergency provisions’ packs.” Sebastian’s Action Trust

We were delighted to receive the funds which have been used to purchase PPE and new, cleanable seats for our waiting area. As restrictions have lifted, we have opened our Glasgow office to run a Low Vision clinic in partnership with NHS. It has been fantastic to once again welcome our service users and provide much needed face to face services.” Visibility Scotland

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