News | 22 Sep 2022

Pioneering Greater Manchester social housing pilot to be connected by Vodafone

Residents of a social housing pilot, announced by Mayor Andy Burnham, will receive free Vodafone SIMs as part of the company's everyone.connected campaign to tackle digital exclusion.

A thousand disadvantaged or vulnerable residents of a pioneering new social housing pilot programme in Greater Manchester will receive free Vodafone SIM cards, ensuring they can stay connected to loved ones, public services, education and other opportunities.

The social housing pilot, announced by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham at the Connected Britain conference in London, aims to be a national blueprint for ensuring that residents of social housing have an internet connection.

Residents from four demographics – over 75s; jobseekers aged 25 or younger; disabled people of any age; and financially vulnerable people of any age – will receive SIM cards from Vodafone’s everyone.connected programme. Southway Housing Trust will identify residents in need of SIMs and distribute them, as well as support residents with any digital skills training that they may need.

Addressing the conference Mayor Burnham said: “With regard to digital connectivity… it is one of the essential utilities that people have to have, and if you don’t have it then your life is, in many ways, held back. When you went past some of our fast-food outlets with kids crowding outside to try and get the WiFi, that told us something wasn’t right.

“To get that crown of the UK’s leading digital city, what actually should that mean? It’s more than just the number of digital and tech jobs or the number of blue-chip players you have within the city region, it’s more than the infrastructure.

“We aspire to be a city region where everyone has got day-to-day connectivity so that they can take care of their finances, do their homework, find work, find opportunity, book appointments from public services.”

Vodafone halfway to connecting One Million as part of its campaign to close the digital divide

Vodafone and performance poet Sophia Thakur 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.

While other companies are providing home broadband to residents as part of the pilot, Vodafone is the only one to provide mobile connectivity. The SIMs will be distributed from 26 September. The pilot will run for six months, with academics working with residents to find out what works best for them.

Vodafone’s everyone.connected digital inclusion initiative aims to provide internet connectivity to disadvantaged people who would otherwise not have it, connecting one million people by the end of 2022. To support households that may be struggling during the cost-of-living crisis, Vodafone offers help in several ways, including its VOXI For Now mobile plan and market-leading, low-priced home broadband.

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