Vodafone UK and charity partner Barnardo’s are asking the public to donate their unwanted smartphones and tablets in a new appeal, launching today (28 May).
The Great British Tech Appeal aims to distribute 10,000 phones and tablets to those most in need during the Covid-19 crisis, and calls on the public to donate old devices in working order for redistribution to disadvantaged children, families and the charity workers who support them.
The appeal will run for six weeks and will also provide devices to the British Red Cross and to services for victims of domestic abuse via the charity SafeLives.
To donate, it asks people to visit www.vodafone.co.uk/techappeal and fill in their details to receive a donation kit with a flattened freepost box and pre-paid returns envelope. Devices can be posted at any post office or post box.
Vodafone is covering all postage and packaging costs; and will provide three months’ free connectivity for every device distributed.
Every device received via The Great British Tech Appeal will be data wiped, re-boxed with a cable and charger and redistributed with the help of the charity partners. Following the three months free connectivity, people will be free to choose to stay with Vodafone as a customer or join another network. Any donated device that can’t be used will be responsibly recycled via Vodafone’s existing accredited partners.
According to Barnardo’s, digital poverty affects the ability of the 300,000 children and young people it supports to keep in touch with essential key workers, while in surveys conducted during the lockdown, SafeLives found that 25% of people living with abuse rated their safety at less than 5 out of 10.
Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer Nick Jeffery said:
“Our focus throughout this crisis has been Keeping the UK Connected. We’ve provided tech support to our charity partners and the vulnerable people they care for; and across the UK, our teams have been working flat out to bring NHS hospitals, front line staff and emergency services the connectivity they need to do their amazing work. However, we know that many thousands of children and families still can’t access learning or essential support because they don’t have the devices or connectivity they need. The Great British Tech Appeal relies on the generosity of the public and we call on them to get behind this appeal. Your old phone or tablet really could change a life.”
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“The coronavirus crisis is having serious consequences for the vulnerable children and families we support across the UK. ‘Digital poverty’ – the lack of devices or internet access – means many children already at a disadvantage will fall further behind at school and miss out on vital support such as counselling.
“We’re delighted to be working with Vodafone to help get technology and connectivity into the hands of the vulnerable children and families who need it most. If you do have a smartphone or tablet at home that you’re not using, please consider donating it to the Great British Tech Appeal so we can help children learn and stay safe at home.”
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