A £2m donation from Virgin Media O2 to charity Good Things Foundation has been made to help tackle the digital divide using data, devices and digital skill development
Virgin Media O2 and digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation will collaborate to extend access to free digital skills training, and free O2 mobile data via the National Databank, for disadvantaged people across the UK.
Building on the National Databank initiative, which launched in July 2021 — offering free mobile data, texts, and calls to those in need — the partnership also looks to create 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs, enabling one million users to access and benefit from digital, by the end of 2025.
Additionally, Virgin Media O2 had pledged to donate over 61 million GB of data within the aforementioned timeframe.
The partnership also forms part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections Plan, the company’s new sustainability strategy to create a better, more connected, and greener world.
With the help of the initiative, marginalised individuals — including those on low incomes most affected by the cost-of-living crisis; minoritised ethnic groups; and low-skilled workers and older people — will be able to carry out essential tasks, such as sending emails and accessing online services.
Digitalisation has become increasingly prominent when it comes to access to services like medical appointments, job applications and training programmes, demonstrating the need to aid those left behind.
“As part of our pledge to upgrade the UK, we’re proudly building on our partnership with Good Things Foundation to help connect a million people experiencing digital isolation, helping them to get online and learn vital skills so they can use the internet, access essential services, and stay connected to loved ones,” said Nicola Green, chief communications & corporate affairs officer at Virgin Media O2.
“Through our new sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, we’re working to create a better, more connected country for everyone, and are providing data and devices to people most affected by the cost-of-living crisis so they can get online and stay connected.”
Helen Milner OBE, group CEO of Good Things Foundation, commented: “We’re thrilled to announce that Virgin Media O2 has become a strategic partner to Good Things Foundation – and will play a major role in helping us deliver our strategy.
“There are two million households that struggle to afford internet access in the UK today, and 10 million adults lack the most basic digital skills. By the end of 2025, we want to engage one million people, helping them benefit from the digital world, and support 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs across the nation to respond to local needs.
“In partnership with Virgin Media O2 and supported by this £2m investment, we will expand our National Digital Inclusion Network to support the National Databank and National Device Bank, helping to fix the digital divide for good.”
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