How Virgin Media O2 is tackling digital exclusion
Virgin Media O2 is on a mission to tackle digital exclusion. Working with Good Things Foundation over the next three years, the broadband and mobile network provider will help one million people across the UK get online and gain vital digital skills.
Virgin Media O2 is donating £2 million to the Good Things Foundation to help disadvantaged people – including those on low incomes, minoritised ethnic groups, low-skilled workers and older people – to access free connectivity, devices and digital skills training.
The support from Good Things Foundation will help people who are unable to use the internet to carry out essential tasks such as sending emails, accessing online services including booking medical appointments, applying for jobs, taking part in virtual interviews or accessing online education or training programmes.
This builds on Virgin Media O2’s and Good Things Foundation’s pioneering National Databank initiative, launched in July 2021. The National Databank is like a foodbank but for free mobile data, texts and calls. Virgin Media O2 is donating more than 61 million GB of free O2 data to the National Databank to help people most affected by the cost of living crisis to stay connected.
Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation will work together to extend access to free digital skills training and free O2 mobile data via the National Databank. This includes:
Creating 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs via Good Things Foundation’s network of community partners, enabling one million people to access and benefit from the digital world by the end of 2025
Providing data, devices and digital skills training to some of the most deprived communities across the UK, via the National Databank and Good Things Foundation’s National Device Bank
Sharing best practice with other organisations working to improve digital inclusion across the UK
Nicola Green, chief communications and corporate affairs officer, at Virgin Media O2 said: “As part of our pledge to upgrade the UK, we’re proudly building on our partnership with Good Things Foundation to help connect a million people experiencing digital isolation, helping them to get online and learn vital skills so they can use the internet, access essential services, and stay connected to loved ones.
“Through our new sustainability strategy, theBetter Connections Plan, we’re working to create a better, more connected country for everyone, and are providing data and devices to people most affected by the cost-of-living crisis so they can get online and stay connected.”
Helen Milner, group CEO of Good Things Foundation, added: “There are two million households that struggle to afford internet access in the UK today, and 10 million adults lack the most basic digital skills.
“By the end of 2025, we want to engage one million people, helping them benefit from the digital world, and support 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs across the nation to respond to local needs.
“In partnership with Virgin Media O2 and supported by this £2 million investment, we will expand our National Digital Inclusion Network to support the National Databank and National Device Bank, helping to fix the digital divide for good.”
Virgin Media O2’s partnership with Good Things Foundation is just one way it is working to tackle digital exclusion across the UK. The company’s Community Calling initiative, created with environmental charity Hubbub, has rehomed more than 10,000 smartphones with people in need, and has provided a share of £400,000 to five charities to run a pioneering device lending scheme, providing tablets and data to people who need them.
Visit Virgin Media O2 to find out more.