Rich says Goodbye

Rich smiling at the camera, in a room with Helen Dobson and participants at a digital inclusion workshop.

A personal post by Rich Denyer-Bewick, Managing Director

After five amazing years at Citizens Online, I’m hanging up my digital hat and moving on to pastures new. It has been an absolute joy to serve in this awesome organisation helping thousands of people get online and learn digital skills.

However, it’s time for me to take on a new challenge and as of the end of November I’ll be working as Sector Skills Networks & Communities Lead for MaPS, the Money & Pensions Service.

I’m really looking forward to the new challenge, but it’s not been an easy decision to move on from Citizens Online, which has been my passion and professional muse since November 2015, when I first started working on partnership networks as part of the One Digital programme.

It’s a journey that’s carried me from Inverness to Plymouth, Thanet to Gwynedd, Brent to Belfast and many, many places in between. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some super digital champions too: from volunteers helping get those tablets fired up in isolated rural communities, to senior leaders across the social sector and government — everyone working together to make positive changes and remove the barriers that stop people from getting the benefits of the digital age.

“It’s not been an easy decision to move on from Citizens Online, which has been my passion and professional muse since November 2015”

Our small but perfectly formed team has done sterling work providing research and evidence to help local organisations tackle the digital divide and also in delivering support projects in local areas right across the UK. My colleagues have been a delight to work with — agile, adaptable and an excellent group of critical thinkers, trying to solve our societal issues on digital inequality. It’s been an honour.

Citizens Online is now at the start of a new chapter. Having navigated our way safely through the initial challenges of Covid-19, we’ve now secured funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver our digital champion projects across North Yorkshire and Sussex, helping these two areas (among others) to recover, and build digital resilience over the next six months.

With my departure, we’re also recruiting for a new Chief Executive to pick up the reins at Citizens Online and take us into our 21st year in 2021. There are more digital challenges ahead — and if you’re interested in leading Citizens Online into the next stage of digital equality work, then please check out our CEO advert — the deadline is Sunday 25th October.

My last day with Citizens Online will be 12th November and I’m really happy to say that my colleague Helen Dobson is stepping into my shoes managing the business. Helen has been with Citizens Online since 2017, doing amazing work developing our digital inclusion programme and securing funding so that we can reach more people and support more digital champions.

I’m wishing Helen, our whole team and our incoming CEO the best of luck — and I’ll see you on the Money Guidance side of things in the not too distant future!

All the best