Hubbub

O2 donating 2,000 devices and 12 months free connectivity to Manchester’s most vulnerable

O2 demonstrates its support for Manchester’s vulnerable population with local mobile device and data donation drive.

O2 is partnering with charity Hubbub with the aim of donating 2,000 devices and 12 months of free connectivity to digitally excluded people across Manchester.

The Community Calling campaign is a lifeline for people who are digitally disconnected and struggling as a result of the pandemic. Following a successful first trial which saw smartphones donated in a handful of London Boroughs, the campaign is now rolling out to locations across Greater Manchester, helping people to get connected in the wake of rising inequality, poverty and employment challenges.

As part of the campaign, O2 will be donating 12 months of free connectivity to the beneficiaries, which will include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data per month for a full year.

Digital connectivity has been vital this year: preserving economic output, helping businesses adapt and keeping us close to the ones we love. However, too many people are digitally excluded, without access to devices or connectivity. It was recently revealed that 2.7 million UK adults (5%) were unable to access the internet in the three months before August – a problem which has been amplified in our socially distanced era, preventing people from accessing family, friends or other essential networks of support.

O2 and Hubbub are working closely with Manchester City Council to identify beneficiaries, who will also be able to access digital skills training at local support centres, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to thrive in the longer term.

With over 40% of Manchester’s population under 35 and 1 in 3 children living in poverty, the donation drive is extremely timely for those in need.  O2 and Hubbub are working closely with local organisations across the region, including Young Manchester, Stepping Stone, Community on Solid Ground and Manchester Youth Zone to reduce the digital divide and help people get connected this Christmas and beyond.

Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, said: 

“Connectivity has been vital to keeping the country running during the pandemic, but if you’re unable to get online you’re likely to miss out on a lot of support. We’ve already seen the positive impact Community Calling has had on vulnerable people in London – providing a lifeline for those most affected by the pandemic, so we’re pleased to announce this expansion, starting in Manchester. This campaign reflects our broader commitment to be there for our customers and the wider community, whenever they need us.”

One beneficiary of the Community Calling campaign is Colette who lives in Rochdale and has been in and out of homelessness for 25 years. She is now living in temporary housing and back in touch with her family. Her new device will be the gateway she needs to keep her connected to them, as well as her support workers. Eventually, she hopes it will help her back into employment.

All beneficiaries will also be able to access digital skills training at local support centres, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to thrive in the longer term.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder at Hubbub, said: 

“It’s been heart-warming to see the positive impact receiving a smartphone through the Community Calling project has already had on so many people’s lives. Being connected to loved ones and accessing essential services is easily taken for granted, but is still not a reality for too many people. We’re excited to be working with O2 to expand Community Calling to other cities including Manchester to get more people connected and prevent unnecessary electrical waste. We’re calling on individuals and businesses with spare smartphones to donate them to somebody who needs a device to stay connected at this difficult time.”

Gift your phone

Anyone in the UK can get involved by donating unused smartphones. It’s easy to sign up online – you’ll receive a free-post donation kit to post your old and workable smartphone, to be refurbished by Recono.me. It will be data-wiped, sanitised and redistributed with user guides and PAYG SIM cards. Alternatively, those who don’t have an old smartphone can choose to donate the cost of one or two month’s top-up for the beneficiaries here.

Manchester libraries will act as drop-off venues, so please bring your old unwanted working phone there.  To find out more about library services and the location of your nearest open branch, go to here.

If you’d like to support the campaign and donate your old smartphones to Community Calling, visit here for more details.

O2 and Hubbub are also encouraging businesses to support the campaign by organising bulk device donations, offering financial contributions that can be put towards purchasing second-hand phones, or providing collection boxes in their offices (where appropriate).

O2 and Hubbub are asking businesses to spread the word among their employees to dig out any old phones. There are three options:

Drop off point

Can you host a drop off point so your employees can drop off their old smartphones safely and securely? These will be collected by our tech partner Reconome. Please email help@hubbub.org.uk to arrange a collection.

Order a courier collection

If you have several business-owned devices and chargers that aren’t being used and you would like to donate them, O2 can arrange a courier to come and collect them in bulk. Please follow the steps explained here and email help@hubbub.org.uk to arrange a collection.

Encourage employees to donate their old smartphones

By asking employees to donate their old smartphones, businesses will be actively supporting the digitally excluded in their local community. Ask employees to follow the simple steps here and email help@hubbub.org.uk for an update on how many smartphone donations your business has generated.

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