Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 Announce Tech Lending Community Fund Winners

Environmental charity Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 have announced the five charities that have received a share of £400,000 to run a ‘pioneering’ device loan scheme to provide tablets and data to people who need them need.

Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 say the fund was created to tackle digital isolation and e-waste.

Grants of between £55,000 and £83,000 have been awarded to five organizations across the UK which provide ‘crucial support’ to groups such as women seeking refuge from domestic violence, refugees, jobseekers asylum and people at risk of homelessness.

The five charities are Thames Reach, Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation, Willowacre Trust, Refuge and Leeds Refugee Forum.

Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 say that between them they will provide more than 1,000 tablets to people living in temporary housing and digitally excluded.

It (the program) allows the most vulnerable people to access essential services and stay in touch with their loved ones.

The tablets will be powered by free O2 mobile data provided by the National Databank, set up by Virgin Media O2 and digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation.

Both companies say tablets and data will help people improve their digital skills and access essential services such as medical appointments, mental health support, training courses, and apply for jobs. and participate in virtual interviews.

The grant fund is also backed by Amazon, which is providing an additional £100,000 to cover the running costs of the lending centres.

Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub say the tech loaner program also supports the circular economy by bringing tablets back with the people who need them, giving them a second life so they can be loaned out again and again and preventing them ending up in landfill as electronic waste. .

The initiative is part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections plan, the company’s new sustainability strategy aimed at creating a “better, more connected and greener world for all”. The Tech Lending Community Fund is one of the ways Virgin Media O2 says it will achieve its goal of connecting one million digitally excluded people with free and affordable connectivity and services by 2025.

Hubbub CEO Alex Robinson said: “This unique community loan program has two key benefits: it enables the most vulnerable people to access essential services and stay in touch with loved ones, and it tackles also to e-waste by giving unwanted tablets another life and diverting them from landfill or incineration.

“We look forward to supporting these wonderful charities with resources and guidance as they roll out their programs, and to see the impact the tablets will have on recipients.”

The two companies say the Tech Lending Community Fund builds on Hubbub and Virgin Media O2’s Community Calling program which launched in 2020 and has redistributed more than 10,000 donated smartphones and data to people in need.

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