O2 and the charity Hubbub have formed a partnership to help vulnerable citizens in the UK get online with a donated smartphone. They are aiming to donate 10,000 unused smartphones to the vulnerable in the worst-off areas of the country and supply them with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data per month for one year.
The partners will initially focus on the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark which are areas with high levels of inequality, poverty, exclusion and unemployment. A national rollout will follow to cover Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Swansea, and Glasgow. The full rollout will be completed by Spring 2021.
While O2 and Hubbub are focusing on those who are shielding, the elderly, refugees, domestic abuse survivors and those in low household incomes in this campaign, O2 did reveal in September that connectivity was vital for 20% of businesses up and down the country during the first lockdown. It hopes that the donated devices and mobile plans will help people connect to essential services, support them with education and employment, and stay in contact with friends and family.
Commenting on the initiative, Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, said:
“Connectivity has been vital to keeping the country running during the pandemic, but if you’re unable to get online you’re likely to miss out on a lot of support. We’ve already seen the positive impact Community Calling has had on vulnerable people in Southwark, so we’re pleased to announce this expansion and tackle digital exclusion elsewhere across the country. We’re determined to support the people who need it most.”
If you have a currently unused but working smartphone that you would like to donate to help support this programme, head over to Hubbub’s phone gift page. If you do not have an old smartphone to give away, you can still help by donating money to Hubbub which will cover the cost of a Giffgaff SIM card with unlimited calls, texts, and 500MB of data.