Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub provide £400,000 for tech lending scheme



Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity Hubbub have provided £400,000 in funding for its device lending scheme that aims to provide tablets and smartphones across the UK.

The Tech Lending Community scheme, which was established in 2022, aims to tackle digital exclusion and electronic waste by providing second-hand devices to people in need, while also giving technology a second life through reuse.

As part of a new round of funding, Virgin Media O2 said homelessness charities, Centrepoint and Thames Reach will receive over 500 tablets and smartphones that will also use free O2 mobile data from the National Databank – which was set up by Virgin Media O2 and charity, Good Things Foundation.

We know that having data and devices can be a lifeline for people in need.

Reacting to the announcement, Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We know that having data and devices can be a lifeline for people in need, enabling them to access essential websites, from applying for jobs to accessing medical appointments, and to stay in touch with loved ones.

“That’s why initiatives like The Tech Lending Community scheme and National Databank are vital in addressing digital exclusion and data poverty, and help to transform people’s lives in communities across the UK.”

The charities distribute the devices via their services across the country. Refuge, a charity which supports women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, received 250 tablets from the initiative in 2022 and will continue to receive funding and support to run their device lending scheme, Virgin Media 02 said.

The charities will distribute the devices via their services across the country, Virgin Media O2 said.

The project is supported by Reconome which Virgin Media O2 said sourced, wiped, and refurbished the second-hand devices. 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, Virgin Media said.

The initiative forms part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan. Virgin Media O2 said it is one of the ways it will achieve its target of connecting one million “digitally excluded people” through free and affordable connectivity and services by the end of 2025.

Alex Robinson, CEO of Hubbub, commented: “Hubbub is thrilled to be launching a second phase of TLC, working alongside homelessness charities Thames Reach and Centrepoint, and Refuge, a charity supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence, to provide an additional 520 tablets and smartphones for them to lend to their service users.

“We are proud to continue doing work to bridge the digital divide in the UK, whilst keeping tech in circulation for longer.”

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