A new campaign to provide devices and connectivity is launching today in Glasgow. Run by O2 and environmental charity Hubbub, Community Calling is aiming to redistribute 1,500 smartphones to individuals without digital access, while helping the environment at the same time.
O2 and Hubbub are working closely with Glasgow City Council and local community groups to identify individuals with unmet digital needs, due to lack of access, affordability, confidence and skills.
A new report by Ofcom reveals that 17% of the Scottish population do not have access to the internet at home. That’s an estimated 928,000 people in Scotland for whom it’s a challenge to connect with family, friends and online support and information, something that many of us take for granted. With the donation of a device and 12 months of free data from O2 (6GB per month and unlimited calls and texts), the Community Calling campaign provides a lifeline for some of those individuals, who will be better able to connect with loved ones and essential networks of support during the ongoing pandemic and thereafter.
While many people are currently struggling without a device, it is estimated that an average of four phones are sitting unused for every one phone in use in the UK2, which could amount to as many as 3.1 million devices in Glasgow. At the same time, 155,000 tonnes of electronic waste are being thrown away each year in the UK3, causing unnecessary carbon emissions when the phones are sent to landfill or incineration. With the aim of redistributing 1,500 devices in Glasgow, Community Calling can help save more than 80 tonnes of CO2 emissions4 by extending the life of much-needed devices and avoiding electrical waste.
O2 and Hubbub are therefore encouraging local businesses and individuals to check their homes and offices for redundant smartphones and donate them to this cause. All workable devices donated to Community Calling will be professionally data-wiped and cleaned before being redistributed.
The launch of Community Calling in Glasgow comes after the successful roll out of the campaign in London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea, with businesses so far contributing 3,500 phones.
Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, said: “Connectivity has been vital to keeping the country running during the pandemic, but if you’re unable to get online you’re likely to miss out on a lot of support. We’ve already seen the positive impact Community Calling has had on vulnerable people in London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea – providing a lifeline for those most affected by the pandemic, so we’re pleased to announce this expansion to Glasgow. This campaign reflects our broader commitment to be there for our customers and the wider community, whenever they need us.”
Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder at Hubbub, said: “It’s been heart-warming to see the positive impact receiving a smartphone through the Community Calling project has already had on so many people’s lives. Being connected to loved ones and accessing essential services is easily taken for granted but, even as lockdown lifts, it is still not a reality for too many people. We’re excited to be working with O2 to expand Community Calling to Glasgow to get more people connected and prevent unnecessary electrical waste, which is a major contributor to climate change. We’re calling on individuals and businesses with spare smartphones to donate them to somebody who needs a device.”
Gift your phone
Anyone in the UK can get involved by donating unused smartphones. It’s easy to sign up online – you’ll receive a free-post donation kit to post your old and workable smartphone, to be refurbished by trusted partner Reconome. It will be data-wiped, sanitised and redistributed with user guides and PAYG SIM cards. Alternatively, those who don’t have an old smartphone can choose to donate the cost of one month’s top-up for the beneficiaries by visiting www.hubbub.org.uk/donate-data-to-community-calling
O2 and Hubbub are also encouraging businesses to support the campaign by offering bulk device donations, or providing collection boxes in their offices (where appropriate).