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Tackling the digital divide together

Find out how we’re joining forces with Lloyds Banking Group to keep the UK connected

  • Vodafone and Lloyds are working together to help vulnerable people benefit from the digital society
  • The two companies have also partnered with several charities to distribute devices
  • The Digital Skills helpline gives callers basic advice on how to do anything online

Bridging the digital divide

We’ve partnered with Lloyds Banking Group, the largest UK retail and commercial financial services provider with 26 million customers and a leading digital presence, on several projects. This is to help vulnerable people receive the devices, connectivity and training they need to benefit fully from today's digital society.

Together we’re delivering the We Are Digital digital skills helpline, and we’re providing free connectivity to some of Lloyds’ vulnerable customers.

“We have a shared ethos and a common set of values, understanding that digital is an enabler of so many other things these days. We both want to make digital exclusion a thing of the past.”

Jemma Waters, Head of Digital Impact and Inclusion Lloyds Banking Group

The challenge – the digital skills deficit

Given how much of our lives happens online these days, Jemma argues that the definition of being ‘digitally disconnected’ needs to change from being offline for three months to being offline for a much shorter period. The digital skills gap within the workplace is also growing as well, she says.

“59% of the workforce can’t do 20 fundamental digital skills at work – saving records on different devices, for example, or even setting and changing passwords.”

The solution – joining forces

We’ve joined with Lloyds Banking Group to collaborate on several projects to help vulnerable people receive the devices, connectivity and training they need to benefit fully from today's digital society.

The Digital Skills helpline, supported by Vodafone and run by social impact company We Are Digital, gives callers basic advice on anything from how to send an email to booking an NHS appointment, from filling in online forms correctly, to protecting yourself against fraud.

In Liverpool, Lloyds is working with the local authority to provide help to long-term unemployed people and other vulnerable groups. We’re supplying devices, Vodafone-donated SIMs, advice and training which is delivered by local community partners, such as The Bread and Butter Thing, an organisation running food clubs. The project aims to support 3,500 people who’ve been identified as needing the most help.

Jemma Waters

“When our digital banking infrastructure was growing,” Jemma explains, “we noticed that some of our 13 million customers were struggling with how to access online banking – they lacked the necessary digital skills. We were seeing first-hand what digital challenges people were facing.”

This led to the creation of Lloyds’ Consumer Digital Index, a database of anonymised, aggregated customer transaction data that gives an insight into people’s digital literacy.

Lloyds also provides customers with devices and connectivity – hence the obvious synergies with Vodafone, whose everyone.connected campaign has provided connectivity to more than a million people so far, and pre-loved devices to more than 13,000 people through our Great British Tech Appeal.

Working with charity partners

Both Vodafone and Lloyds understand the critical importance of working with charity partners, says Jemma.

“We have no interest in duplication. It’s important to understand and play to each other’s strengths, which is why we partner with Local Authorities, charities and community groups.”

Similarly, we’ve partnered with a number of charities, such as Good Things Foundation, Barnardo’s, the Trussell Trust, British Red Cross and the Refugee Council, to help distribute free SIMs and donated devices to digitally excluded people.

On the digital skills front, we launched Hi Digital, in partnership with Independent Age, which offers courses to older people on how to get online safely. And through our business.connected initiative, we’re aiming to provide digital skills training to 800,000 small businesses over three years with help from partners such as Enterprise Nation, Samsung and Cisco.

“We see more opportunity for collaboration in the small business space,” says Jemma, “and we’re looking to do more community engagement regionally.”

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The benefit – helping those in need

Through its digital inclusion work, Jemma estimates that Lloyds, with the help of partners like Vodafone, has helped 400,000 people so far. But she also lays down a challenge for all of us.

“We all know someone who is less digitally confident that we could help. Most of us probably have old devices that could go to a better home. Digital exclusion is the responsibility of all of us.”

You can ring the Digital Skills Helpline on 0800 987 4110.

“It’s a privilege to have a job like this and have partners behind us helping us make such a big difference.”

Jemma Waters, Head of Digital Impact and Inclusion Lloyds Banking Group

Why Vodafone?

  • Donating connectivity and tech - working with partners, we’ll continue to donate mobile connectivity and technology to those who need it most.
  • Affordable and accessible services - offering targeted, affordable tariffs and services that make being connected super accessible.
  • Upskilling businesses and communities - working with partners to provide free support to digitally transform and upskill businesses and communities.

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