Young Digital Leaders tackle COVID-19

Written by Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO, Digital Leaders

The Young Digital Leaders are a group of ten individuals aged 14-30 that form a part of the Digital Leaders 100 each year. Each year they are nominated by the Digital Leaders community and are chosen through a shortlisting process to a final ten by our judging panel.

We have been choosing them for four years now and this year’s ten will be announced on 1st June when we reveal the Digital Leaders 100 (DL100) for 2020. I can’t wait for you to meet them.

Of all the categories in the DL100, I personally find this extraordinary group of individuals the most impressive and exciting one. Perhaps, because we meet them early in their careers and maybe because they are all digital leaders of the future who, irrespective of the sector, are moving boundaries and using technology to solve and disrupt long term challenges. I also enjoy our interactions as they are true digital natives. Their beliefs and attitudes to help each other, the wider community and to solve problems is quite inspirational.

Each year has a winner but many of the candidates end up with the spotlight on them. Jack Parsons, Vimla Apadoo, Ben Towers, Leon Ifayemi and Andrea Rodriguez (please look them up) all come to mind. All ten Young Digital Leaders each year are exceptional.

Today I wanted to highlight the latest project of one of those perhaps less well known alumni, Myles Jardine. 

Myles appeared in the Young Digital Leaders list two years ago. As a university student, he built an app connecting students interested in going to University from poor backgrounds with the amazing plethora of scholarships, bursaries and programmes designed to support them financially. His app not only matched you to the money, but helped you apply for the funds. Genius.

He and the programme were exceptional for its execution as a piece of technology, but also for the social benefit he was leveraging from his technology.

Yesterday he called me to say that he was launching a new app. Many people are struggling right now, and a lot are discovering that they have to turn to food banks for the first time. He told me that he had created a new app to support that journey. His response to COVID-19 is called “Munch” or to give it its full title, “The MUNCH Food Bank Chef App”. 

With increasing numbers of people struggling with food insecurity, food banks have seen an increase in demand of 300% in recent weeks. The app has been developed to help tackle the hunger crisis we are facing in the UK, supporting food banks and families where possible.

Myles has been working with the Trussell Trust, FareShare, GiveFood and The Felix Project, to enable Munch users to:  

  • get help to obtain food 
  • get vouchers to access food banks 
  • obtain information about how to access help 
  • learn how to cook tasty, healthy meals on a tight budget.

However, it is not just basic cooking. Working closely with the Bite Back 2030 charity, founded by Jamie Oliver, Myles is also partnering with some fantastic chefs, including: Jamie Oliver; Galton Blackiston; Gary O’Hanlon; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; Jack Monroe; John Torode; Lesley Waters; Lisa Faulkner; Nigella Lawson; Paul A. Young; Prue Leith; Rosemary Shrager; and Sophie Grigson.

I hope you and your network will join with me in getting the word out about Munch. We need to ensure that those who stand to benefit from the app are aware of the services it provides. You can download the app here

So well done Myles Jardine, a great example of a Young Digital Leader. I hope we will be able to feature many more of the projects that the Young Digital Leaders alumni have developed during Covid-19 during the coming weeks. 

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