Ben Richardson was the overall winner of the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2010. Ben works for The Connection at St Martins, a charity which helps homeless people in London, where he runs a digital media group. Here Ben tells us what’s he’s been up to since winning last year’s Digital Heroes Awards.
It has been a memorable and exciting year for us. It’s funny to think that it was just a year ago that we entered our photography group into TalkTalk’s Digital Heroes award.
What a long way we’ve come in a relatively short space of time, thanks to TalkTalk’s support. Homeless people from the group have had such a boost to their confidence from winning.
Because of this the group has undergone some positive changes: the homeless people decided that as well as taking photographs they wanted to expand the remit of the group so that they could learn about other forms of digital technology, not just photography. This included developing short films, learning how to use software like Photoshop and setting up blogs, or social networking sites.
To make this a reality we’ve completely re-launched the group. It now runs in a dedicated digital training room with new equipment and more staff support, which means we’ve been able to help more homeless people from our day centre explore and develop their projects.
There’s such a diverse range of work being produced and some really creative ideas. Each person’s project is unique and the creative nature of the group gives people the opportunity to express their personality. As well as learning skills, the open nature of the group gives people the chance to address their situation and the issues that led to their homelessness. This is a crucial step in helping people move away from the streets.
So what’s next? Well, we’re all ambitious so I know the group will go from strength to strength.
Things we’ve got planned include holding a digital exhibition in December at the TalkTalk customer experience centre to showcase some of the work that’s been produced. We believe that giving people the chance to exhibit their work gives them something to work towards and helps build confidence. We also want to keep expanding the group so that we can introduce more homeless people to the digital world.