Vodafone has pledged to provide more than 50,000 free SIMs, worth a total of £4.5m, to homelessness charities across the UK through its charities.connected initiative.
Vodafone’s partner, youth homelessness charity LandAid, will raise awareness within its wide network of the availability of mobile connectivity, which doesn’t require a name or address. The SIMs include free data, unlimited texts and UK calls. From national charities, such as Centrepoint, to local community charities, the 50,000 free SIMs will help those facing homelessness connect with vital help and services.
LandAid brings together businesses and individuals from across the property industry to help young people facing homelessness. With 122,000 young people approaching their local council for housing support last year alone, the demand has never been higher. The last few years have highlighted the vital need for digital connectivity on both a personal and professional level. Free mobile data can help improve young people’s wellbeing, education, and future job prospects.
LandAid and Vodafone have committed to jointly raise awareness of the ways digital exclusion can impact young people experiencing homelessness and, through their networks of charity partners, provide free connectivity where it’s needed most.
Vodafone’s charities.connected programme launched in 2021 and gives every UK registered charity the opportunity to apply for free connectivity to improve its digital capability or help the individuals and families it supports to get online. To date, the initiative has supported over 1,800 organisations across a range of social causes, including refugees, domestic abuse, homelessness, healthcare and learning disabilities.
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Ahmed Essam, UK CEO, Vodafone, said: “I’m pleased we are supporting homelessness charities across the UK by providing free connectivity that doesn’t require a name or address. Being connected is vital to access support services and stay in touch with friends and family. Now more than ever, it’s important that we help those who are digitally excluded. We call on all registered charities to apply for free connectivity so we can help as many people as possible.”
Paul Morrish, CEO, LandAid said: “We are excited to have partnered with Vodafone on this important campaign. The last couple of years have seen the world being catapulted into a new digital age. And we show no signs of going back. At LandAid, we saw first-hand the devastating effects that lack of connectivity had on many of the young people we support who were experiencing homelessness throughout the pandemic.
“Loneliness was rife and the ability to work and continue with training opportunities stalled. These SIM cards will enable thousands of young people across the UK to maintain vital personal and professional relationships at a time when digital connectivity is more important than ever.”
Ed Tytherleigh, Director of Support and Housing, Centrepoint said: “Centrepoint is delighted to be part of this initiative, led by Vodafone in partnership with LandAid. The anonymous SIMs, with no requirement for an address or payment details, will enable us to provide free data to 2,000 young people who are homeless or currently at risk of homelessness, keeping them connected and allowing them to access a variety of training, benefits, and employment opportunities.
“When the cost-of-living crisis is affecting all the young people we work with in different ways, this will make an enormous difference to their welfare”.
Vodafone has committed to connect one million people living in digital exclusion by the end of 2022. It has already provided 500,000 free SIMs through partners including the Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s and Good Things Foundation, as well as through its charities.connected programme. Any UK registered charity can apply for free connectivity.