Annual reports Reward Foundation

Annual Reports

The Reward Foundation was established as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation on 23 June 2014. We are registered charity SC044948 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR. Our financial reporting period runs from July to June each year. On this page we publish an abstract of the Annual Report for each year. The most recent full set of accounts is available on the OSCR website in a redacted form.

Annual report 2019-20

Our work was focused in several areas:

  • Improving the financial viability of the charity by applying for grants and establishing new areas of commercial trading.
  • Developing relations with potential collaborators in Scotland and around the world through networking.
  • Expanding our teaching programme for schools using the scientific model of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment.
  • Building a national and international profile to make TRF a credible ‘go-to’ organisation for people and organisations needing support in the field of internet pornography harm as a way of furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress.
  • Beginning a transition to increase our reach and impact by gradually moving the focus of our services. We are moving from a model of face-to-face delivery to a model using modern communications technologies.
  • Extending our web and social media presence to build our brand among audiences in Scotland and around the world.
  • Undertaking training and development activities to raise the skill levels of the TRF team. This would ensure that they could deliver these diverse work streams.
Main achievements
  • We again doubled our gross income to a new high of £124,066. We obtained a series of strategic grants, including our largest one to date.
  • TRF maintained its public presence in the sex education, online protection and porn harm awareness fields, attending 7 conferences and events in Scotland (previous year 10), 2 in England (previous year 5), as well as one in the USA.
  • During the year we worked with over 775 (previous year 1,830) individuals in person. We delivered about 1,736 person/hours of communication and training, slightly down from last year’s 2,000 hours.
  • From March 2020 The Reward Foundation’s operations were slowed or changed by the pandemic. An invitation to speak at a nursing conference on domestic violence in Sweden was cancelled. Several other speaking and teaching engagements were also lost.
  • Trading income was suppressed by the pandemic, though this was compensated by support from the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Resilience Fund.
  • On three days in June 2020 we ran the first international Age Verification Virtual Conference attended by 160 delegates from 29 countries. This was originally planned as a face-to-face event and had to be reshaped due to Covid restrictions.
  • On our website www.rewardfoundation.org, the number of unique visitors rose to 175,774 (previous year 57,274) and the number of pages viewed reached 323,765 (up from 168,600).
  • For Twitter in the period from July 2019 to June 2020 we achieved 161,000 tweet impressions, slightly down from 195,000 the previous year.
  • On our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1-mihcAj9mf-nJKLWiT5KA) the total number of video views rose from 3,199 in 2018-19 to 9,929. The biggest boost came from the clip we licenced from New Zealand in which Dr Don Hilton explains porn’s impact on the brain.
Other achievements
  • In the year we published 14 blog posts covering TRF activities and the latest stories about the impact of internet pornography in society. We had two articles published in peer reviewed journals, up from one last year.
  • During the year TRF continued to feature in the media, appearing in 5 newspaper stories in the UK and internationally (previous year 12). We featured in one radio interview (down from 6) and gained substantial current affairs coverage on The Nine on BBC Scotland TV.
  • Mary Sharpe ended her role as chair of the Public Relations and Advocacy Committee at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) in the USA. Her four-year term as a member of the SASH Board also concluded.
  • From January 2020 to May 2020 Mary Sharpe was a Visiting Scholar at Lucy Cavendish College, the University of Cambridge.
  • The Reward Foundation contributed a response to the process of creating the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles NATSAL-4 survey.
  • For the third year running we retained our Royal College of General Practitioners Accreditation to deliver one-day courses to healthcare professionals as a part of their Continuing Professional Development programmes. CPD workshops were delivered in 9 UK cities (up from 5) and once in the Republic of Ireland. Two other CPD workshops were presented to professionals in the USA.
  • TRF continued to deliver internet pornography harm awareness training to schools, professionals and the general public. The programme of creating lesson plans on pornography and sexting for use in schools moved into its final stages, with trials in several schools. The first lesson plans went on sale in the TES.com shop right at the end of the year.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 597 hours of free training to a total of 319 people. This was substantially greater than last year’s total of 230 hours, though the number of recipients fell from 453 people. The change reflects two linked transitions within the charity. First, we have been able to charge for more of the training delivered to professionals and schools, so improving our cash-flow. We were able to do this, at least in part, because materials that were undergoing development in the previous year were now tried and tested, making them commercially viable products.

Second, we increased the amount of free information disseminated through our substantial growth in the audiences reached around Scotland and the world by our website and through social media. The Age Verification Virtual Conference was particularly successful in allowing us to reach new audiences.

We had peer-reviewed papers published in the ‘International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health’ and ’Sexual Aggression and Compulsivity’. These papers have the potential to help guide pornography research worldwide over the next decade. The Free Parents’ Guide to Internet Pornography launched in 2018-19 grew from 4 to 8 pages, getting additional important information the hands of parents handling stressful situations with their children.

Annual report 2018-19

Our work was focused in several areas

  • Improving the financial viability of the charity by applying for grants and extending commercial trading
  • Developing relations with potential collaborators in Scotland and around the world through networking
  • Expanding our teaching programme for schools using the scientific model of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment
  • Building a national and international profile to make TRF a credible ‘go-to’ organisation for people and organisations needing support in the field of internet pornography harm as a way of furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress
  • Extending our web and social media presence to build our brand among audiences in Scotland and around the world
  • Undertaking training and development activities to raise the skill levels of the TRF team to ensure that they could deliver these diverse work streams.
Main achievements
  • We doubled our gross income to over £62,000, obtained our largest ever grant and continued to boost our trading income.
  • We completed the ‘Investing in Ideas’ grant from the Big Lottery Fund. This was used to develop and test curriculum materials for use by primary and secondary teachers in state schools. We expect that these will go on general sale from the end of 2019.
  • TRF maintained its presence in the sex education, online protection and porn harm awareness fields, attending 10 conferences and events in Scotland (previous year 12). In England it was 5 (previous year 3), as well as one each in the USA, Hungary and Japan.
  • During the year we worked with over 1,830 (previous year 3,500) individuals in person. We delivered about 2,000 person/hours of communication and training, down from 2,920.
  • On Twitter in the period from July 2018 to June 2019 we achieved 195,000 tweet impressions. This was up from 174,600 the previous year.
  • In June 2018 we added GTranslate to the website, giving full access to our content in 100 languages through machine translation. Non-English language visitors now make up about 20% of our web traffic. We are reaching wide audiences in Somalia, India, Ethiopia, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
Other achievements
  • In the year we published 34 blog posts covering TRF activities and the latest stories about the impact of internet pornography in society. This was one more than the previous year. We had one article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • During the year TRF continued to feature in the media, appearing in 12 newspaper stories in the UK and internationally (previous year 21) as well as on BBC Alba in Scotland. We featured in 6 radio interviews (up from 4) and gained a production credit in a TV documentary on teen relationships.
  • Mary Sharpe continued her role as chair of the Public Relations and Advocacy Committee at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) in the USA. In 2018 Mary was nominated as one of the WISE100 women leaders in social enterprise.
  • The Reward Foundation contributed a response to the Commons Select Committee’s inquiry into the growth of Immersive and Addictive Technologies. In Scotland we contributed to the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls on the links between sexual harassment and pornography use.
  • We retained our Royal College of General Practitioners Accreditation to deliver one-day courses to healthcare professionals as a part of their Continuing Professional Development programmes. CPD workshops were delivered in 5 UK cities (up from 4) and twice in the Republic of Ireland. Two other CPD workshops were presented to professionals in the USA.
  • TRF continued to deliver internet pornography harm awareness training to schools, professionals and the general public.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 230 hours of free training to a total of 453 people. This was substantially lower than last year’s total of 1,120 hours. The change reflects two linked transitions within the charity. First, we have been able to charge for more of the training delivered to professionals, so improving our cash-flow. We were able to do this, at least in part, because materials that were undergoing development in the previous year were now tried and tested, making them commercially viable products.

As a counter point, we increased the amount of free information disseminated through our substantial growth in the audiences reached around Scotland and the world by our website and in broadcast media, especially on radio. Our contributions to four public consultations and our publication in the Journal Sexual Aggression and Compulsivity were made free of charge. A key development has been our launch of the Free Parents’ Guide to Internet Pornography. This simple 4-page handout is now helping parents around the world.

Annual report 2017-18

Our work was focused in several areas

  • Improving the financial viability of the charity by applying for grants and extending commercial trading
  • Developing relations with potential collaborators in Scotland and around the world through networking
  • Expanding our teaching programme for schools using the scientific model of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment
  • Building a national and international profile to make TRF a credible ‘go-to’ organisation for people and organisations needing support in the field of internet pornography harm as a way of furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress
  • Extending our web and social media presence to build our brand among audiences in Scotland and around the world
  • Undertaking training and development activities to raise the skill levels of the TRF team to ensure that they could deliver these diverse work streams
Main achievements
  • We continued to utilise the ‘Investing in Ideas’ grant from the Big Lottery Fund to develop and test curriculum materials for use by primary and secondary teachers in state schools.
  • TRF continued to expand its presence in the sex education, online protection and porn harm awareness fields, attending 12 conferences and events in Scotland (previous year 5), 3 in England (previous year 5) and 2 in the USA as well as one each in Croatia and Germany.
  • During the year we worked with over 3,500 individuals in person and delivered about 2,920 person/hours of communication and training.
  • On Twitter in the period from July 2017 to June 2018 we achieved 174,600 tweet impressions, up from 48,186 the previous year.
  • In June 2018 we added GTranslate to the website, giving full access to our content in 100 languages through machine translation.
  • In the year we put out 5 editions of Rewarding News and our mailing list became GDPR compliant. During the year we published 33 blog posts covering TRF activities and the latest stories about the impact of internet pornography in society. This was 2 more blogs than the previous year. We had one article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Other Achievements
  • During the year TRF continued to feature in the media, appearing in 21 newspaper stories in the UK and internationally (previous year 9) as well as again on BBC television in Northern Ireland. We featured in 4 radio interviews.
  • Mary Sharpe continued her role as chair of the Public Relations and Advocacy Committee at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) in the USA.
  • The Reward Foundation contributed responses to the UK’s Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper Consultation. We also made a submission to the Internet Safety Strategy Team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on proposed amendments to the Digital Economy Act.
  • We achieved Royal College of General Practitioners Accreditation to deliver one-day courses to healthcare professionals as a part of their Continuing Professional Development programmes. CPD workshops were delivered in 4 UK cities.
  • TRF continued to deliver internet pornography harm awareness training to schools, professionals and the general public. We co-sponsored the school workshop programme for the Wonder Fools show The Coolidge Effect at the Traverse Theatre.
  • Our CEO and Chair attended the Good Ideas Catalyst training programme in Edinburgh over 3 days.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 1,120 person/hours of free training, only just below last year’s 1,165. TRF delivered free training and information services to the following groups:

We presented to 310 parents and professionals in community groups, down from last year’s 840

The CEO performed in front of 160 people in a TV studio audience at BBC Northern Ireland. The 10-minute segment was broadcast on the Nolan Show, the highest rated programme in Northern Ireland

We presented to 908 people in professional and academic groups at conferences and events in Scotland, England, the USA, Germany and Croatia, up from last year’s 119

We provided one volunteer placement for a university student and partnered a graphic design course involving 15 undergraduates over a full semester.

Annual report 2016-17

Our work was focused in several areas

  • Improving the financial viability of the charity by applying for grants and extending commercial trading
  • Developing relations with potential collaborators in Scotland and around the world through networking
  • Expanding our teaching programme for schools using the scientific model of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment
  • Building a national and international profile to make TRF a credible ‘go-to’ organisation for people and organisations needing support in the field of internet pornography harm as a way of furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress
  • Extending our web and social media presence to build our brand among audiences in Scotland and around the world
  • Undertaking training and development activities to raise the skill levels of the TRF team to ensure that they could deliver these diverse work streams
Main achievements
  • In February 2017 we received a £10,000 ‘Investing in Ideas’ grant from the Big Lottery Fund to develop curriculum materials for use by primary and secondary teachers in state schools.
  • From 1 June 2016 to 31 May 2017 the salary of the CEO was underwritten by a grant from an UnLtd Millennium Awards ‘Build It’ grant of £15,000 which is paid to her personally.
  • Mary Sharpe completed her appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in December 2016. The relationship with Cambridge supported the development of TRF’s research profile.
  • The CEO and the Chair completed the Accelerated Social Innovation Incubator Award (SIIA) programme of business development training at The Melting Pot.
  • TRF continued to expand its presence in the sex education, online protection and porn harm awareness fields, attending 5 conferences and events in Scotland, 5 in England and others in the USA, Israel and Australia. In addition, three peer-reviewed papers written by TRF members were published in academic journals.
  • On Twitter in the period from July 2016 to June 2017 we increased our number of followers from 46 to 124 and we sent 277 tweets. They achieved 48,186 tweet impressions.
  • We migrated the website www.rewardfoundation.org to a new hosting service with greatly improved speed for both users and the public. In June 2017 we launched Rewarding News, a newsletter which we aim to publish at least 4 times per year. During the year we published 31 blog posts covering TRF activities and the latest stories about the impact of internet pornography.
Further achievements
  • During the year TRF began to feature in the media, appearing in 9 newspaper stories in the UK as well as on BBC television in Northern Ireland. We featured in two extensive radio interviews and in the online videos published by OnlinePROTECT.
  • Mary Sharpe co-authored a chapter entitled The Internet Flow Model and Sexual Offending with Steve Davies for the book ‘Working with Individuals who have Committed Sexual Offences: A Guide for Practitioners’. It was published by Routledge in March 2017.
  • Mary Sharpe became chair of the Public Relations and Advocacy Committee at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) in the USA.
  • The Reward Foundation contributed consultation responses to Scotland’s Strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, the future of the Personal and Sexual Education curriculum in Scottish schools and the Canadian Parliament’s investigation into the health effects of violent pornography on young people.
  • The Reward Foundation was listed as a resource with a link to our home page in the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People published by the Scottish Government. We contributed to the UK Parliament’s Working Party on the Family, Lords and the Commons Family & Child Protection Group efforts to assist the passage of the Digital Economy Bill through the UK Parliament.
  • TRF continued to deliver internet pornography harm awareness training to schools, professionals and the general public.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 1,165 hours of free training, up from 1,043 last year. We delivered training and information services to the following groups:

650 pupils at schools in Scotland

840 parents and professionals in community groups

160 people in a TV studio audience at BBC Northern Ireland. The 10-minute segment was broadcast on the Nolan Show, the highest rated programme in Northern Ireland

119 in professional and academic groups at conferences and events in Scotland, England, the USA and Israel

We provided 4 volunteer placements for school and university students.

Annual report 2015-16

Our work was focused in several areas

  • Improving the financial viability of the charity by applying for grants and beginning commercial trading
  • Developing relations with potential collaborators in Scotland by networking
  • Establishing a teaching programme for schools using the scientific model of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment
  • Building a national and international profile to make TRF a credible ‘go-to’ organisation for people and organisations needing support in the area of internet pornography harms as a way of furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress
  • Expanding our web and social media presence to build our brand among audiences in Scotland and around the world
  • Undertaking training and development activities to raise the skill levels of the TRF team to ensure that they could deliver these diverse work streams
Main achievements
  • A successful application was made to UnLtd for a “Build It” Award of £15,000 grant to pay Mary Sharpe a salary for a year from June 2016.  As a result in May 2016 Mary resigned as a charity trustee and transitioned into the role of Chief Executive Officer. Dr Darryl Mead was elected by the Board as the new Chair.
  • Mary Sharpe led work to develop a network of potential collaborators. Meetings were held with representatives of Positive Prisons, Positive Futures?, Scottish Catholic Education Association, Lothians Sexual Health, NHS Lothian Healthy Respect, Edinburgh City Council, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems and the Year of the Dad.
  • Mary Sharpe was appointed as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in December 2015. Darryl Mead was appointed as an Honorary Research Fellow at UCL. The relationship with these universities supported the development of TRF’s research profile.
  • Mary Sharpe completed her training through the Social Innovation Incubator Award (SIIA) programme at The Melting Pot. She then joined the Accelerated SIIA programme, along with Board member Dr Darryl Mead.
External achievements
  • TRF developed a presence in the online protection field and porn harm fields, attending 9 UK conferences.
  • Papers written by TRF members were accepted for presentation in Brighton, Glasgow, Stirling, London, Istanbul and Munich.
  • In February 2016 we launched our Twitter feed @brain_love_sex and expanded the website from 20 to 70 pages. We also took over running the website from the developers.
  • Mary Sharpe co-authored a chapter entitled The Internet Flow Model and Sexual Offending with Steve Davies for the book ‘Working with Individuals who have Committed Sexual Offences: A Guide for Practitioners’. It will be published by Routledge in February 2017.
  • Mary Sharpe was elected to the board of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) in the USA.
  • TRF submitted responses to the Australian Senate’s Inquiry into Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet and to the UK Government’s consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography.
  • We began to deliver internet pornography harm awareness training to Scottish schools on a commercial basis.
  • TRF received a £2,500 grant as seed funding for creating a major youth website. It will be co-developed with young people drawn from the target audience.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 1,043 hours of free training, up from 643 last year.

We delivered training and information services to the following groups:

60 teachers on in-service training for Edinburgh City Council

45 sexual health officers for NHS Lothian

3 actors for Wonder Fools in Glasgow

34 members of the National Association for the Treatment of Abusers

60 delegates at the onlineProtect Conference in London

287 delegates at the International Congress of Technology Addiction in Istanbul, Turkey

33 artists and art students at the Royal College of Art in London

16 members of The Melting Pot, in association with Dr Loretta Breuning

43 staff at the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre in Edinburgh

22 delegates at the DGSS Conference on Social Scientific Sexuality Research in Munich, Germany

247 pupils at George Heriot’s school in Edinburgh We provided 3 volunteer placements for school and university students.

Annual report 2014-15

A series of illustrated talks for lay audiences were developed by Mary Sharpe and Darryl Mead setting out the way the reward circuit of the brain works. This explored the addiction process, explained supernormal stimuli and detailed the way in which internet pornography can become a behavioural addiction. Audiences reached are set out below. Mary Sharpe spoke to about 150 civil servants working for the Scottish Government.

Achievements
  • The Board agreed the constitution.
  • The Board agreed the office bearers.
  • Then the Board agreed the business plan.
  • A Treasurer’s Bank Account was established on a no-fee basis with a major Scottish Bank.
  • An initial corporate identity and logo were adopted.
  • An agreement was established for the royalties of the book Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction to be gifted by the Author to The Reward Foundation. The first royalty payment was received.
  • Mary Sharpe as Chair won a place on the Social Innovation Incubator Award (SIIA) training programme at The Melting Pot.  The prize included a year of rent-free use of space at The Melting Pot.
  • Mary Sharpe won £300 for The Reward Foundation in a SIIA pitching competition.
  • Mary Sharpe applied for and won an award of £3,150 in Level 1 funding from FirstPort/UnLtd to allow us to build an effective website.  Income from this award was not received until the following financial year.
  • A marketing firm was engaged to develop the website and a more sophisticated set of corporate graphics.
Donated facilities and services

We donated a total of 643 hours of free training.

We trained the following professionals: 20 sexual health officers for NHS Lothian, full day; 20 healthcare professionals at Lothian & Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP) for 2 hours; 47 criminal justice professionals at the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending for 1.5 hours; 30 managers at Polmont Young Offenders Institution for 2 hours; 35 counsellors and child protection specialists at the Scottish branch of the National Association for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) for 1.5 hours; 200 sixth form pupils at George Heriot’s School for 1.4 hours.

We provided 3 volunteer placements for school and university students.

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