Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub partner for e-waste charity initiative

Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity Hubbub are giving hundreds of used and preloved smartphone and tablet devices to charities, as the next phase of their Tech Lending Scheme kicks off.

The scheme, which launched in 2023, is aimed at combating both digital exclusion and electronic waste by providing second-hand devices to people in need while also preventing the tech from ending up in landfill.

In the first phase of the scheme, a £400,000 grant supported charity partners in offering support to groups such as women seeking refuge from domestic violence, refugees, asylum seekers and people at risk of homelessness. Virgin Media O2 has now supplemented this with an additional £400,000.

As part of the new round of funding, homelessness charities Centrepoint and Thames Reach will receive more than 500 tablets and smartphones. The charities will then distribute these devices to service users across the country, loaning them out to help people improve their digital skills

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The devices – which can use free Virgin Media O2 mobile data from the National Databank – will help provide access to essential online services such as applying for jobs, locating food banks, booking medical appointments and contacting loved ones.

In addition, Refuge, a charity which supports women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, and received 250 tablets from the initiative in 2022, will continue to receive funding and support to run its device lending scheme.

Since the launch of the Tech Lending Community scheme, more than 750 people have been loaned a tablet for up to six months at around 50 community centres, temporary accommodation, or refuge sites nationwide.

Hubbub CEO Alex Robinson said the charity is “thrilled” to be working with Virgin Media O2 on rthe second phase of TLC and is “proud to continue doing work to bridge the digital divide in the UK, while keeping tech in circulation for longer”.

In 2023, Hubbub launched a new £200,000 fund to encourage creative solutions to tackling food waste.

Climate crisisNature and the environmentPolicyRetailSocial sustainabilityTech

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