News | 21 Dec 2023

From Dragon Boats to packing food: how Vodafone staffers supported The Trussell Trust in 2023

Vodafone’s support for anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust extends beyond national campaigns, as the company’s employees donate their time and sweat.

“It was a privilege to support the food donation drive and witness people’s compassion for those in need”. This emotionally perceptive testimony comes from a Vodafone employee who volunteered to help collect food donated by shoppers at a Finchley branch of Tesco to The Trussell Trust, who oversee a UK-wide network of food banks.

“Particularly heartening was the eagerness of individuals who had once needed to turn to a foodbank. They demonstrated a remarkable sense of responsibility, giving back to support others currently facing challenges,” the anonymous volunteer noted.

The Trussell Trust’s research shows that around one-in-six people referred to one of their food banks have no access to the internet at all. Less than half (46%) of food bank users have internet access through a mobile network, while even fewer (42%) have access through a home broadband connection.

photo showing Vodafone staffers volunteering for The Trussell Trust at a London Finchley branch of Tesco.

As part of its everyone.connected initiative, Vodafone has partnered with The Trussell Trust since 2021 to provide food bank users with free SIMs for six months. Each SIM comes with 40GB of mobile data each month, as well as unlimited calls and texts. Vodafone has also sponsored the charity’s annual Christmas carol concert for the second year running.

The company’s employees have also donated their labour to the charity. 300 staffers from Vodafone’s London and Newbury offices sorted and packed 500 kits of hygiene essentials. Many of those sanitary items, such as tampons and deodorant, were donated by staffers upon learning that they’re often in short supply at food banks due to their cost.

Elsewhere, employees from the company’s operations in Stoke-on-Trent, Newbury and the capital collected donated food from drop-off points at numerous Tesco supermarkets. In 2022, such Tesco Winter Food Collection donations added up to 1.6 million meals for those visiting the Trussell Trust’s food banks. This year, 2 million meals were collected.

Trussell Trust volunteering day: 'Food is an essential; so is connectivity'

Vodafone’s UK CEO, Ahmed Essam, joined Business Director Nick Gliddon and Nicki Lyons, Director of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, to do some volunteering work at a Trussell Trust food bank in Greenwich recently. What did they learn?

Fundraising has also been a focus, with teams of colleagues taking part in The Trussell Trust’s annual Dragon Boat Race, raising over £800. Some staffers used their ‘volunteering leave’ to assist in these various activities – every Vodafone employee can take up to three days of paid leave every year for volunteering.

In December 2023, Vodafone reached the halfway milestone in its campaign to help 4 million people cross the digital divide by 2025.

Make a donation to help support food banks and learn more about volunteering for The Trussell Trust.