Vodafone has joined Good Things Foundation’s National Databank to provide free data for the charity’s network of community groups across the UK and the people they support.
It has pledged 24 million gigabytes of data, enough to provide connectivity to 200,000 people for six months. Vodafone has worked with Good Things Foundation on digital exclusion projects since 2020 and this initiative is part of its commitment to connect one million people living in digital poverty by the end of 2022.
Good Things Foundation’s National Databank gives community groups across the UK access to free data – either through SIM cards or vouchers – that they can share with those who are digitally excluded and need support
Following a successful three-month pilot that saw over 400 data vouchers distributed to community partners, the programme is now live in 34 centres across the UK with plans to extend it to hundreds more during 2022.
Community groups who are already a part of the Good Things Foundation’s network can apply for the connectivity later this month using the Online Centres Network section of the charity’s website.
Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s UK CEO, commented:
“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.
Joining Good Things Foundation’s National Databank is an important milestone in achieving this target and another great way to provide connectivity to grassroots organisations who can have immediate impact in the communities in which they work.
“Together, we can tackle digital exclusion.”
Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Vodafone to the National Databank. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the digital divide, highlighting a huge pressing social issue and leaving people with multiple social challenges left behind. It is not OK to leave millions of people locked out of the digital world.
“Vodafone has done some fantastic work over the last year to help these digitally excluded people get online; and with this generous pledge we can now reach many more organisations and the communities they support.
“We’re excited to see the National Databank grow in scale in 2022, increasing from 34 participating centres to hundreds, possibly thousands, more.
“Our aim is to drive collaboration between public, private and community sector organisations and deliver sustainable solutions that will ultimately end data poverty in the UK by 2024. This is a real possibility. Together, we can all come together to break down the barriers causing data poverty in the UK once and for all.”
The National Databank was created by Virgin Media O2, working closely with Good Things Foundation and other digital inclusion experts including Community Organisers, Operation Wi-Fi, Hubbub and Nominet, and has been gifted to Good Things Foundation to run through its network of 5,000 community groups.
The National Databank provides a central hub where community groups can access free ‘data voucher codes’ and SIM cards for anyone who needs them. Those accessing free data will also be offered additional support – including digital skills training and signposting to other essential services.