News | 13 Oct 2020

Great British Tech Appeal distributes thousands of repurposed devices to disadvantaged people

Unwanted phones and tablets, once headed for the skip, are now helping people connect with loved ones and take part in the digital society.

The Great British Tech Appeal, an initiative from Vodafone UK and charity partners Barnardo’s, SafeLives and the British Red Cross, has distributed 2,400 repurposed smartphones and tablets to disadvantaged people across the UK.

The devices were donated by the public following Vodafone’s UK-wide appeal.

A spokesperson for SafeLives, a charity working to end domestic abuse, said: “We were delighted to receive these fantastic phones from Vodafone. They’ve helped keep many people safe from their abusers.

“People have been able to use data to access services when needed – us, health, housing, police, council, solicitors.”

Vodafone launched the Great British Tech Appeal with its charity partners in May during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown to help combat ‘digital poverty.’ A report from children’s charity Barnardo’s estimated that 700,000 children and young people across the UK do not have adequate access to a computing device or internet access at home.

A support worker at Barnardo’s said: “I gave phones to two young people aged 17 and 14. The youngest hadn’t been able to do any school work unless it was paper-based and had no internet access. She is now completing past school work and getting her education back on track.”

All usable devices donated to the Great British Tech Appeal were refurbished and bundled with a new charger and charging cable, as well as six months of free unlimited mobile data on the Vodafone UK network, before being distributed to the people who needed them.

Any devices that were either damaged or too old to be reused were responsibly recycled by Vodafone’s accredited partners to reduce e-waste.

We’ll be reporting on the impact these devices have had on the lives of some of the people who received them in a later feature.