Hampshire based Online Safety have secured a £70,000 growth loan to further develop their web-based education and training platform which helps to keep children safe online.
Lee Hayward established Online Safety (OSUK) in 2018, bringing with him safeguarding experience and a passion for the subject. His drive comes from days spent as a police officer where he delivered tailored and specialised training on how to keep children safe online. Lee wanted to impart this knowledge further afield to a wider audience and realised that he had identified a need to not only progress online safety education to help families and school settings, but to educate any professionals or adults involved in that child’s network. All of this work has one aim: to help adults work together to better protect children whilst they are online.
Families can access OSUK’s age-specific web-based products which contain a vast library of self-help information and useful bitesize videos. These help people to easily learn about online safety together in a clear and concise way. This gives families confidence and a basic level of understanding in relation to online safety.
OSUK is also committed to training and educating schools for at least a year with face-to-face sessions and monthly calls, keeping teachers upskilled with the most current safety information. Likewise support service professionals can work with OSUK to attend online events and courses to help them put together bespoke packages to assist and support any families with whom they work.
Lee Heywood, Founder and Director of Online Safety, commented: “When I established OSUK, my vision was clear: to bring the right people together, to improve confidence and ability for everyone operating in the fast-paced digital world by increasing their understanding of the topic so that children could be better safeguarded. The funding received from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme will be used to market the roll-out of the premium subscription service, scheduled for this year and will also include the appointment of new employees to support this. I would like to extend my thanks to James at The FSE Group who guided me through the process to secure the funding.”
James Edwards, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “In Lee, OSUK has a committed director with excellent sector knowledge and contacts. The service offered to schools is far superior to the few others that are available and as a result the company has a growing revenue stream from its services to schools and local authorities, with a customer retention rate at over 90%. With the recent addition of its app, the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the strong growth prospects in this expanding market and we look forward to working with Lee to help him achieve these goals.”
Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: "Knowing how to keep children safe online is a worry for any parent, particularly given the wide use of gaming and home study tools now available. This innovative platform will play an important part in safeguarding young people and I’m delighted that Enterprise M3’s expansion loan scheme could help. It’s fantastic to see businesses such as Lee’s growing and attracting new employees, especially given the strong and growing pool of people with advanced digital skills in the EM3 area.”