Stockport community organiser wins BT lockdown hero award

  • Stockport’s Nicola Wallace Dean nominated for her tireless efforts in the community during lockdown

  • The award was launched by BT Skills for Tomorrow, in partnership with Channel Mum, which is helping families this summer as they grapple with supporting their children to explore and enjoy the online world safely

  • Public nominated those who had made a difference to their local community using digital resources during lockdown

Nicola Wallace Dean has been named as BT’s local Digital Lockdown Hero following her selfless efforts in supporting her local community throughout lockdown.

The co-founder of community organisation Starting Point, Nicola has supported Stockport residents by organising shopping trips, prescription pick-ups and food donations for those in need. In addition, she has taught key digital skills, such as online banking and food shopping, ensuring individuals can access basic necessities and keep in contact with family and friends.

Last month it was revealed that Captain Sir Tom Moore was chosen as the nation’s Digital Lockdown Hero after the former British Army officer raised over £32 million in aid of the health service's charitable wing NHS Charities Together.

In a bid to recognise more people across the country who have used digital resources to help families during lockdown, BT partnered with parenting community Channel Mum to find BT’s local Digital Lockdown Hero. The public were encouraged to nominate those who have supported their local communities and families using digital channels and technology, before entries were judged by Professor Kerensa Jennings, BT Group Director of Digital Impact, and Netmums founder, Siobhan Freegard.

While Wallace Dean received the top prize, the judges also highly commended Jennifer Nimmo-Smith from Glasgow who teamed up with Scottish Care to deliver the Tech Device Network, an organisation supporting the wellbeing of older and vulnerable citizens receiving care in Scotland by providing them with electronic devices and helping them stay connected with friends and family during lockdown.

On receiving the award, Nicola Wallace Dean said: “I’m so delighted to win this award. It’s a huge honour to be recognised for the work done by the whole team and our neighbourhood throughout lockdown. We’ve seen a real community spirit as people come together to help each other through this difficult period. I’m so proud to share this with everyone in our community.”

BT’s Professor Kerensa Jennings said: “I would like to congratulate Nicola on being named BT’s local Digital Lockdown Hero. It was heart-warming to see so many come forward to selflessly nominate their local heroes and it demonstrates how important the online world has become to local communities in these difficult times.

“Skills for Tomorrow is here to help people make the most of life in the digital world and can hopefully play a small, yet important role in supporting and inspiring others to follow in the footsteps of our Digital Lockdown Heroes.”

The search for BT’s local Digital Lockdown Hero forms part of BT Skills for Tomorrow, which is helping families this summer with their children’s online world, helping them explore and enjoy it safely. From managing screen time to guides about online influencers, and games to keep kids entertained while learning, BT has created resources to help families make the most of life in the digital world.

At the end of July, BT commissioned research which revealed how important the online world has become for families since the start of lockdown. Over three-quarters of parents (79%) say that their family’s use of digital resources has increased since lockdown began and a further 89% state that use of online technology has been a blessing for their family during lockdown.Despite their increasing reliance on online materials, the research also highlighted the questions parents have when trying to understand their children’s online world, with those surveyed worrying about their children’s online activity more than five times a day (5.3 times). The most common uncertainties raised are managing screen time (51%) and whether social media influencers are a safe and good influence on their child (40%).

More on BT Skills for Tomorrow – including help on social media influencers and balancing wellbeing online – can be found here: https://www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/families


Notes to Editors

  • The research was commissioned by BT as part of their ‘Skills for Tomorrow’ initiative and carried out online by OnePoll
  • All surveys were conducted between 13th July 2020 and 17th July 2020
  • The sample comprised 1000 UK parents of children aged 0-17 years old
  • OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS


About Skills for Tomorrow

BT Skills for Tomorrow is helping 10 million people in the UK make the most of life in the digital world. It is designed to help everyone – from school children and teachers, parents and families, businesses and jobseekers, to older and more vulnerable people.

Working in partnership with a range of the UK’s leading digital skills, enterprise and community organisations, BT have created and collated some of the best advice, information and support, in one easy to navigate place.