Vodafone has pledged to provide the SIMs – more than 50,000 in total – through its charities.connected programme.
charities.connected 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.
Under Vodafone’s latest pledge, its 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 and will be distributed to both national charities, such as Centrepoint, and local community charities, to help those facing homelessness connect with help and services.
Ed Tytherleigh, Director of Support and Housing, Centrepoint commented:
“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”.
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.
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.”
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 via partners including the Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s and Good Things Foundation, and through its charities.connected programme.