“Being connected to loved ones and accessing essential services is easily taken for granted, but is still not a reality for too many people.”
The campaign will help people like Colette in Rochdale who experienced periods of poverty over the last 25 years. Now living in temporary housing, she told the campaign her new device will help her stay connected to her family and support workers as well as making it easier for her to get back into work.
Young people in need will be one of the focuses of the campaign. A third of Manchester children live in poverty while more than 40 per cent of the city’s population is aged under 35, said charity Young Manchester – which will work closely with the Community Calling campaign to get devices directly to people who need them.
Other charities Stepping Stone, Community on Solid Ground and Manchester Youth Zone will also be involved to help get people connected this winter.
Locals who want to contribute can drop off unwanted working phones to their nearest Manchester library, while anyone in the UK can get involved by donating unused smartphones using a free-post kit or by donating the cost of a month’s top-up online. Devices will be data-wiped, sanitised and refurbished before being distributed.
O2 and Hubbub also want businesses to organise bulk device donations, collecting unwanted phones from employees or by contributing money that can be used to buy second-hand devices.
“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus just how beneficial the internet can be for everyday tasks and for keeping in touch with family and friends,” said Councillor Luthfur Rahman, executive member for skills, culture and leisure in Manchester.
“We’ve been working extremely hard to ensure that as many of our residents as possible have the opportunity to use digital technology, providing laptops to vulnerable residents and friendly one-to-one support to learn to use them where required, while also keeping our libraries open in a Covid-safe way to provide essential internet access.
“We welcome this additional support, which will make a real difference to the lives of thousands more Mancunians.”
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