Vodafone UK, with charity partner Barnardo’s, today launched ‘The Great British Tech Appeal’ and called on the public to donate pre-loved smartphones and tablets for redistribution to disadvantaged children, families and the charity workers who support them.
Vodafone will cover all postage and packaging costs, and will provide three months’ free connectivity for every device distributed. The Great British Tech 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.
It’s estimated that UK homes may contain up to 40 million unused electronic gadgets, including mobile phones and tablets. A recent study concluded that half of UK homes have at least one unused electronic device and 45% have up to five.
The Great British Tech Appeal is looking for any smartphone or tablet in working condition. Donating tech is simple, fast and free of charge. Complete a short online form 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.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential role of digital technology in keeping people connected. Yet hundreds of thousands of people across the UK do not have adequate access to a device or connectivity at home and face huge barriers in accessing education and support services.
- More than 700,000 children and young people across the UK do not have adequate access to a device or connectivity at home .
- Barnardo’s reports that ‘digital poverty’ affects the ability of the 300,000 children and young people it supports to keep in touch with essential key workers.
- 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.
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 our charity partners. Recipients of a device will benefit from unlimited connectivity for three months, after which they can choose to stay with us as a customer or join another network.
Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer Nick Jeffery said: “Our focus throughout this crisis has been on 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.”
Any donated device that can’t be used will be responsibly recycled via Vodafone’s existing accredited partners, reducing e-waste and the demand for rare-earth elements used in the manufacture of mobile phones and tablets.
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Note to Editors
Please note that we can only accept smartphones and tablets into The Great British Tech Appeal. Before returning your device, we recommend you reset the device to its default factory settings (e.g. no password or pin number or any cloud-based protection such as iCloud). Please also disable any ‘find my device’ functionality such as Find My iPhone; if this is not disabled, we won’t be able to process or donate your device. Please remove any SIM or memory cards before donating your device.
Any donated device that can’t be used (e.g. due to damage or software incompatibility) will be responsibly recycled via Vodafone’s existing accredited partners, reducing e-waste and the demand for rare-earth elements used in the manufacture of mobile phones and tablets. This supports Vodafone’s commitment to reducing e-waste; in 2019, it diverted 100% of network and e-waste from landfill and recycled 10 tonnes of used devices. Any funds raised will be donated back to the Great British Tech Appeal and used to finance additional devices and connectivity.
Vodafone’s mission is to connect the UK and build an exciting digital future that works for everyone. We want to achieve our vision while minimising our impact upon the planet and are committed to running our business responsibly and sustainably, reducing the energy we use and the waste we produce.
We want to enable joyful connections and lessen isolation where we can; and are committed to promoting inclusivity and championing equality. We bring together incredible ideas, innovations and technologies that improve society; and we are committed to helping our customers have a safe and balanced digital life.
We strive to be an amazing place to work, offering market-leading parental leave policies, and helping people who’ve been on a career break return to work. We passionately believe we can change our society for the better.
Last year around 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes. We work to support vulnerable children in the UK and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you. Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605. Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews.
For more information, please contact:
Vodafone UK Media Relations Team
Email: ukmediarelations [at] vodafone.com (press queries only)
 ONS in 2018 reported 12% of those between 11 and 18 years old (700,000) reported having no internet access at home
 Before donating a smartphone or tablet, we recommend that every device is reset to default factory settings to remove password and pin data. Please also disable any ‘find my device’ functionality, such as Find My iPhone, or we won’t be able to process or donate your device.