West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is calling on charities in the constituency to take up Vodafone’s offer of free SIM cards providing free calls, texts and internet data to support their customers and clients who are currently digitally excluded.
As part of Vodafone’s commitment to tackle digital exclusion and connect one million people by the end of 2022, they recently launched charities.connected.
This 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 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.
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.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, welcoming the offer of support, commented:
“We often talk and hear about those who are digitally excluded and this can be for a range of reasons, but it is great to hear Vodafone putting forward the practical solution of actually providing the access to data usage!
“Charities across West Lancashire will be undertaking various projects to tackle digital exclusion and isolation and I hope they will be able to access this support and apply for the free SIM cards for the residents they are supporting, or to improve their own digital connectivity and enhance the service they provide.”
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.”
Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the 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.”
charities.connected can be found by visiting vodafone.co.uk/mobile/everyone-connected/charities-connected