Press Release | 26 Apr 2022

Vodafone and The Trussell Trust report rising need for free connectivity due to the cost-of-living crisis

Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign reaches 250,000 milestone.

  • Vodafone and the Trussell Trust report rising need for digital connectivity from food banks and the communities they support.
  • Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign reaches 250,000 milestone.

Vodafone and the Trussell Trust have reported a significant increase in requests for digital connectivity due to the cost-of-living crisis. The partnership between Vodafone and the Trussell Trust, which launched a year ago, provides free connectivity to people who are receiving support from food banks in the Trussell Trust network1.

Being connected is an essential for all of us to survive as well as thrive

(Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust)

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “It’s simply not right that more and more people in the UK are being left with no option than to use a food bank. We’re hearing from food banks across our network that the cost-of-living crisis is forcing increasing numbers of people into impossible decisions where they have to cut back on the essentials we all need to get by.

“Being online and connected is one of these essentials. Without internet access, people can’t manage their finances, apply for job opportunities, or stay connected with doctors, schools and loved ones.

“Our partnership with Vodafone is making a real difference to the support food banks are able to give people facing hardship – being connected is an essential for all of us to survive as well as thrive.”

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Vodafone has committed to connect one million people living in digital exclusion by the end of 2022. Today, it announced it has already provided free connectivity to 250,000 people, via partners (including the Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s and Good Things Foundation) and through its charities.connected initiative which enables UK registered charities to apply for free connectivity to improve their digital capability or help the individuals and families they support to get online.

Most recently, Vodafone announced it will be providing free connectivity to 200,000 refugees who arrive in the UK from Ukraine.

Ahmed Essam, UK CEO, Vodafone, said: “The pandemic and cost of living crisis have highlighted the scale of digital exclusion, and in particular its impact on the most vulnerable in society. Digital connectivity is essential to access work, education, healthcare, finances and to keep in touch with family and friends, yet 1.5m households are living without internet access.

“Our everyone connected campaign puts tackling digital exclusion at the heart of our business. Our goal is to provide connectivity and support to those in society who need it most. By working with leading organisations like the Trussell Trust who can reach people in need, we aim to help as many people as possible stay connected.”

My phone and internet are my lifeline to the outside world

Sabrina*, who has received a Vodafone SIM card, highlights the importance of being connected: “My phone and internet are my lifeline to the outside world. Without them I wouldn’t be able to message family and friends, to pay bills, to do online banking. I would be terribly lonely.

“It’s a definite must for me to have these services. If and when I don’t have them, I’m cut off from the world, feeling sad, lonely and desperate for communication.”

The Trussell Trust's Angela Miller (left) and Vodafone's Rachel Evans helping out at a London food bank
The Trussell Trust's Angela Miller (left) and Vodafone's Rachel Evans helping out at a London food bank

Everyone can support Vodafone’s commitment to tackle digital exclusion and connect one million people by the end of 2022. To find out more or get involved, search Vodafone everyone connected.

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Note to Editors

*Sabrina’s name has been changed to protect her anonymity.

1 For every new and existing Vodafone Together household, Vodafone will provide a person in need with a SIM card, loaded with 20GB of data plus free calls and texts each month for up to a year. To ensure the scheme reaches people who are struggling to afford the essentials such as internet access, the SIMs are distributed through the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks. The free SIM cards help people who have no option but to use a food bank, unlocking the opportunities of connectivity and internet access, allowing people to increase earnings, access opportunities, manage money and shop for better deals.

A recent report from Vodafone highlights that the digital divide most impacts those who are already at a disadvantage, either financially or socially.

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 March 2022, we have 5G in 380 locations across Europe – 141 in the UK and 239 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 26 UK towns and cities, rising to 35 over the coming months, through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach. By spring 2022, our target is to make full fibre services available to more than eight million homes across the UK.

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.

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