Vodafone Techstarter Awards charity winners revealed

The Children’s Society, Code 4000 UK, Full Fact and Wayfindr are among the winners at the first Vodafone Techstarter awards.

Joe Lepper | 14th Feb 19

A charity’s virtual reality project to help young people overcome mental health issues has scooped two technology awards.

The Children’s Society’s Reality Check project was one of four organistions to win a best not-for-profit gong at the inaugural Vodafone Techstarter awards.

The charity’s project, which creates an immersive virtual reality environment to help children overcome anxiety and depression, was also one of two winners of the Techstarter Champion’s award, which is voted for by Vodafone employees.

Other non-profit winners are Code 4000 UK, for its work with prisoners teaching them to code and finding them work with tech employers when they are released. This started with a pilot of 30 prisoners at HMP Humber and has been built up into a UK wide network.

Independent fact checking charity Full Fact is another winner for its work using artificial intelligence to fact check claims from politicians and the media.

Wayfindr, which uses smartphone technology and audio based navigation to help blind people navigate complex indoor environments independently, is another winner.

The awards are run by Vodafone’s charitable arm Vodafone Foundation and the Social Charity Digital to honour not for profit and private sector innovation in areas such as health, education, the environment and social mobility.

Cash prize and support

All four charity winners receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support from Vodafone and Social Charity Digital. The Children’s Society wins an additional £10,000 for winning the Techstarter Champion award.

“The range and calibre of the Vodafone Techstarter winners show that the UK is home to a thriving social tech sector,” said Nick Jeffery, Chief Executive, Vodafone UK.

“We believe some of the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation.  These awards are just one way we can recognise, celebrate and support start-ups developing and using technology as a force for good.”

Ed Evans, Chief Executive of Social Charity Digital, added: “Vodafone Techstarter is a hugely powerful platform that showcases the potential of partnership and demonstrates how cross-sector organisations can work together to create something truly inspiring. I’m looking forward to seeing how these start-ups grow and thrive with the resources and support provided.”

The winners of the for-profit category are Alice Si, Blakbear, Lettus Grow and Walk With Path.

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