July 28, 2022
Vodafone halfway to connecting One Million as part of its campaign to close the digital divide
- 500,000 milestone reached, as cost-of-living crisis increases the need for free connectivity.
- Award-winning performance poet and author, Sophia Thakur, pens ‘The Divide’, an emotive spoken word poem to highlight the impact a lack of connectivity can have.
- Vodafone and Sophia call on the UK to help ‘close the divide’ by searching everyone.connected to see what support is available and how they can get involved.
As part of its long-term commitment to close the digital divide, Vodafone has reached the half million mark in its campaign, having donated 500,000 free connections to people across the UK. As the need for free connectivity grows as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, Vodafone wants to raise awareness of the issue and its everyone.connected programme. The programme provides people with a free SIM with 20GB of data a month, for six months – plus unlimited calls and texts – through a network of charity partners.
Despite over a million households living without access to the internet, only 1-in-5** people are aware of the issue. As a champion of the cause, Vodafone commissioned award-winning performance poet and author, Sophia Thakur, to pen an emotive poem to highlight the impact digital exclusion can have. Her performance, entitled ‘The Divide’, shows how ‘simple’ everyday actions such as booking a GP appointment, applying for a job or paying a bill are almost impossible when you don’t have what most of us take for granted. She paints a picture of a group excluded from society, looking on from the sidelines, not being able to take part – just because they aren’t connected.
Sophia said: “With each passing day we see the world becoming more dependent on connectivity, but we often forget about those who are living without it. Reliable connections can help more people to access even the most basic things that many others take for granted. I hope that, through the work Vodafone is doing and by raising awareness of the issue of digital exclusion, we can fill the gap and close the divide.”
Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s UK CEO, said:
“We hope our partnership with Sophia will drive more understanding of the issue we are so passionate about. Her beautiful words and performance are designed to help people understand what it might feel like to be disconnected so they can help anyone they know who might be in that situation. We’re proud our everyone.connected programme has reached the half million milestone, but we know there are many more people out there who need help. As the poem says, connection shouldn’t be a luxury.
We couldn’t do this without our charity partners and would like to thank them for all they are doing to get connectivity into the hands of those who need it most.”
The 500,000 milestone marks the halfway point in Vodafone’s commitment to connect one million people experiencing digital exclusion by the end of 2022, as part of its wider everyone.connected programme. The figure has been reached through Vodafone’s partnerships with charities such as The Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s and Good Things Foundation, as well as the huge number of charities that are part of its charities.connected programme.
Across the UK, the breakdown of free connectivity provided is as follows:
As well as its everyone.connected campaign, Vodafone is also committed to providing affordable connectivity to those struggling most with the cost of living. Vodafone’s £10 a month ‘VOXI’ For Now low-cost mobile tariff is available to anyone claiming Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance. It includes unlimited 5G data, as well as unlimited calls and texts.
Notes to editors
everyone.connected is made up of a number of programmes – all working together to get connectivity into the hands of those who need it:
- The Great British Tech Appeal is simple: the public or businesses donate old smartphones or tablets, Vodafone adds the connectivity, Barnardo’s gets them to the people who will benefit most. Simply bring in old devices to a Vodafone store or apply for a pre-paid donation envelope online. So far, it has connected more than 8,000 young people.
- Buy One Give One is an initiative with partner The Trussell Trust. For every customer who signs up for Vodafone Together – our mobile and Pro Broadband package – we’ll give connectivity to someone in need for up to a year. The SIMs will be distributed via Trussell Trust food banks and enable us to provide critical connectivity to people when they are in a moment of crisis. This can be a lifeline to allow people to stay connected to loved ones and access vital services to help them step out of poverty.
- charities.connected gives any charity in the UK the opportunity to apply for free connectivity to help the individuals and families it supports to get online and to improve its own digital capability. Registered charities can apply for the free connectivity, in the form of SIM cards with 20GB of data, plus free calls and texts every month for six months.
**Vodafone Research polling 2,000 UK adults, 72Point, November 2021
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