Virgin Media 02 and Hubbub reveal winners of £500,000 e-waste fund

A laptop repair training programme providing refurbished devices for refugees and a charity endeavour combating digital exclusion are among the winning projects of the Virgin Media 02 and environmental charity Hubbub’s £500,000 Time After Time fund.

The Time After Time fund, now in its second year, was set up in 2022 in response to the nation’s growing e-waste problem. It supports initiatives across the country that give unwanted tech a second life and help communities in need get online.

Eight winning projects from more than 120 entries have been selected by a panel of judges including TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke.

The winning projects, which will receive up to £100,000, include Coventry City Council’s #CovConnects programme, which will use the Virgin Media 02 grant to run a device lending bank to distribute end-of-life corporate devices to people in need across the city, helping them to get online.

The eight winning projects to receive grants from the Virgin Media 02 Time After Time fund are:

Single Homeless Project – London 

Single Homeless Project has been awarded a grant of £52,600 for a project providing tailored digital skills training and rehomed devices to people experiencing homelessness. The devices will help people to access essential online services such as applying for jobs, locating food banks, booking medical appointments, and contacting loved ones.

SOFEA – Oxfordshire  

With a grant of £100,000, SOFEA will repair and upgrade second-hand smartphones, laptops, and tablets and provide them to disadvantaged young people across Oxfordshire, along with training to improve their skills to help them get into work.

Coventry City Council 

Coventry City Council’s #CovConnects programme will use an £80,000 grant to run a device lending bank to distribute end-of-life council devices to people in need across the city, helping them to get online.

The devices will be powered by free O2 mobile data from the National Databank (set up by Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation, the databank works like a foodbank but offers free O2 mobile data, text and calls), and the initiative will provide digital skills training, too.

The University of Warwick will also carry out research into how circularity can address the climate crisis and support digital inclusion.

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Green Alliance – nationwide 

The Green Alliance’s grant of £70,000 will support the charity’s research project into redistributing e-waste to tackle digital exclusion and will create a series of policy recommendations for government.

Screen Share UK – nationwide  

Screen Share UK’s £46,700 grant will fund a laptop repair skills training programme and provide refurbished devices to more than 500 refugees and asylum seekers across the UK. This will help them access essential online websites, such as booking medical appointments, accessing benefits, training and job opportunities, and to connect with loved ones.

Giroscope – Hull 

Charity Giroscope has been awarded a grant of £59,000 to expand their project which rehomes refurbished donated computers, laptops, and smartphones with people in need across Hull, and provides skills and work experience for neurodivergent young people.

Power 2 Connect – London 

Thanks to a £36,400 grant, Power 2 Connect will recycle, refurbish, and redistribute donated smartphones, laptops, and tablets to people who need them across Wandsworth. The charity will also hold digital skills training sessions to help people use their gifted devices.

The Making Rooms – Blackburn  

The Making Room will use a £55,300 grant to run the Blackburn Repair Space project which will rehome hundreds of unwanted laptops with young people who are digitally excluded, and provide digital skills and laptop repair training sessions to help them get into work.

Dana Haidan, chief sustainability officer,Virgin Media O2, said:  “The winners of this year’s Time After Time fund are an amazing set of innovative and inspiring projects led by talented people across the country, which share our vision of stopping unwanted tech going to landfill, where instead it can be rehomed with people who need it so they can get online.

“With Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s £500,000 funding, these brilliant initiatives will transform communities – providing devices, digital skills, support and training, that will enrich people’s lives, give tech a second life, and help protect the planet.”

Circular economyClimate crisisNature and the environmentNet zeroPolicySocial sustainability

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