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Press Release | 25 Aug 2021

Calling all UK charities! Vodafone offers free connectivity to help not-for-profit organisations tackle digital exclusion

Calling all UK charities! Vodafone offers free connectivity to help not-for-profit organisations tackle digital exclusion

With Vodafone's charities.connected initiative, non-profit organisations in the UK can help the communities they support and modernise their own digital operations, too.

Vodafone today launched charities.connected, an initiative giving any charity in the UK the opportunity to apply for free connectivity to help the individuals and families it supports get online and improve its own digital capability.

This is part of Vodafone’s recently announced commitment to tackle digital exclusion and connect  one million people by the end of 2022.

Registered charities can apply for the free connectivity, in the form of SIM cards with 20GB of data, plus free calls and texts every month for six months.

The pandemic has highlighted the scale of digital exclusion and in particular its impact on the most vulnerable in society. Digital connectivity is increasingly essential to access work, education, healthcare and to keep in touch with family and friends, yet 1.5m households (approximately 6% of the UK population) are living without internet access.

Skills gap

Charities have faced many challenges during the pandemic. Smaller charities have struggled to offer their services digitally and, in many cases, have paused activity or stopped operations altogether.

Others have faced a lack of digital skills and technical knowledge – both within the charities themselves and in the communities they serve.

Almost half (45%) of charities reported they had to give their users devices, data or support to enable them to get online; 20% said they had to cancel services because they didn’t have the skills or technology needed to deliver them.

illustrative image of a Vodafone 20GB charities.connected SIM card

Credits: Alexander Viner

Vodafone’s charities.connected initiative will support any registered charity that would benefit from free connectivity, either to help the individuals and families it supports to get online, or to improve its own digital capability.

The connectivity, in the form of SIM cards offering 20GB of data plus free calls and texts every month for six months, will work in any SIM-enabled device (a phone, tablet, laptop, MiFi or dongle).

Registered charities of any size can apply. Complete a simple online application form, including information on how free connectivity will support the project and the number of people set to benefit.

Multiple SIMs can be requested and repeat applications can be made if the organisation has a range of digital exclusion projects under way.

Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director at Vodafone UK, said: “At Vodafone, we’ve put tackling digital exclusion at the heart of our business with our pledge to connect one million people by the end of 2022.

“We hope that by giving free connectivity to charities across the UK, we can enable them to better support their local communities, particularly those that are digitally excluded.

“We want to support projects big and small – please help us share this offer so we can reach as many charities as possible.”

illustrative image of the digital inclusion work done by the Good Things Foundation
The Good Things Foundation has seen first-hand the challenges faced by charities during the pandemic

Helen Milner OBE, CEO, Good Things Foundation, said: “We’ve seen first-hand the challenges that charities of all sizes have faced during the pandemic, with managing cash flow, staffing and the move to online services. Many simply haven’t had the digital infrastructure in place to deliver their services effectively.

“Vodafone has done some fantastic work over the last year to help digitally excluded people get online and we think this next initiative – offering free connectivity to charities – will have a huge impact on these organisations and the communities they support.”

Connecting a million

Vodafone has a range of projects under way to tackle digital exclusion and connect one million people by the end of 2022. They include its Buy One Give One initiative and the Great British Tech Appeal.

It has also partnered with Global, the Media and Entertainment group, on a six-month campaign to raise awareness of digital exclusion and inspire the nation to get involved to help those living without devices and connectivity.

These initiatives follow Vodafone’s schools.connected programme in 2020, which gave 350,000 SIM cards to 9,000 schools and colleges across the UK to help pupils access online learning while schools were closed during the pandemic.

-Ends-

Notes to editors

charities.connected applications: All applications will be reviewed and a decision to support made within 30 days. SIMs will be issued within 30 days of a positive decision and are ready for distribution from 1 September 2021.

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity, helping people to improve their lives through digital. It tackles the most pressing social issues of our time, working with partners in thousands of communities across the UK and further afield.

For the ‘Connecting Families’ programme, it works with Community Partners that are part of the Online Centres Network. They are invited to apply for devices and connectivity to distribute to individuals within their local communities where it will have most impact. The Community Partners will also provide the digital skills training.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of June 2021, we have 5G in 364 locations across Europe – 124 in the UK and 240 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587