With the country still in lockdown due to the pandemic, O2 and Hubbub are further committing themselves to supporting the digitally excluded by donating 1,000 devices and 12 months of free data (6GB per month) to vulnerable people across Bristol. With support from The Aviva Foundation, Bristol beneficiaries will also benefit from money tips and guidance from financial wellbeing experts, Clean Slate, to help manage tight household budgets.
The Community Calling campaign is a lifeline for people who are digitally disconnected and struggling as a result of the pandemic. Following a successful launch which saw smartphones donated in a handful of London Boroughs, Manchester and Leeds, the campaign is now rolling out to Bristol, helping people to get connected in the wake of rising inequality, poverty and employment challenges.
The Bristol launch of Community Calling is directly addressing the financial exclusion that often goes hand in hand with a lack of connectivity. For those without access to the internet it’s difficult to access services and discounts that support financial wellbeing – and this has been made more challenging by the pandemic.
Digital connectivity has been vital over the past year: preserving economic output, helping businesses adapt and keeping us close to the ones we love. However, too many people are digitally excluded. It was recently revealed that 2.7 million UK adults (5%) were unable to access the internet in the three months before August 2020 – a problem which has been amplified in our socially distanced era, preventing people from accessing family, friends or other essential networks of support.
In Bristol, O2 and Hubbub are working closely with award-winning education consultants Sustainable Hive, who are delivering the project on the ground, including identifying beneficiaries.
One beneficiary of the Community Calling campaign is Pat, who’s in her late 70s and feels very isolated at home, due to not having a smartphone or internet connection. With her new device, Pat will be able to access online support services and information, as well as taking part in social events again – this time virtually.
The Aviva Foundation has provided funding for the roll out of Community Calling in Bristol to ensure that the campaign benefits mid-life to elderly low-income households across the city, who struggle to access financial wellbeing support.
Phones will be distributed through a range of local organisations, including Bristol Drugs Project, AgeUK and Ambition Lawrence Weston, all working in partnership with O2, Hubbub and Sustainable Hive.
All beneficiaries will also be able to access digital skills training at local support centers, with support from Bristol Council, as well as money guidance from Community Interest Company Clean Slate Training & Employment.
Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, said: “Connectivity has been vital to keeping the country running during the pandemic, but if you’re unable to get online you’re likely to miss out on a lot of support. We’ve already seen the positive impact Community Calling has had on vulnerable people in London and Manchester – providing a lifeline for those most affected by the pandemic, so we’re pleased to announce this expansion to Bristol. This campaign reflects our broader commitment to be there for our customers and the wider community, whenever they need us.”
Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder at Hubbub, said: “It’s been heart-warming to see the positive impact receiving a smartphone through the Community Calling project has already had on so many people’s lives. Being connected to loved ones and accessing essential services is easily taken for granted but is still not a reality for too many people. We’re excited to be working with O2 to expand Community Calling to Bristol to get more people connected and prevent unnecessary electrical waste. We’re calling on individuals and businesses with spare smartphones to donate them to somebody who needs a device to stay connected at this difficult time.”
Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Lead for Education and Skills, said: “We know that the ability to access digital devices is incredibly important – now more than ever. It is great that so many partners are committing to the Community Calling campaign, taking a One City approach to help promote digital inclusion across the city. By working together, we can reach people in our communities whose financial and personal lives have been hit hard by the pandemic and help them bridge the digital divide. Our Community Learning Team will be providing courses and support, so that recipients can build their confidence and skills to make the best use of their new device.”
Gift your phone
155,000 tonnes of electronic waste is being thrown away each year in the UK. At the same time, an average of four phones are sitting unused for every phone in use in the UK, so Community Calling is encouraging individuals and businesses in Bristol to search their drawers and get involved by donating unused smartphones.
It’s easy to sign up online – you’ll receive a free-post donation kit to post your old and workable smartphone, to be refurbished by trusted partner Reconome. It will be data-wiped, sanitised and redistributed with user guides and PAYG SIM cards. Alternatively, those who don’t have an old smartphone can choose to donate the cost of one- or two-month’s top-up for the beneficiaries by visiting http://www.hubbub.org.uk/appeal/donate-data-to-community-calling.
O2 and Hubbub are also encouraging businesses to support the campaign by organising bulk device donations, offering financial contributions that can be put towards purchasing second-hand phones, or providing collection boxes in their offices (where appropriate).
If you’d like to support the campaign and donate your old smartphones to Community Calling, visit http://www.hubbub.org.uk/communitycalling/ for more details.
About the Aviva Foundation
The Aviva Foundation is a charitable trust administered by Charities Trust under charity registration number 327489. The Foundation has been set up by Aviva to invest unclaimed shareholder assets in charitable causes for the benefit of our communities in the areas of financial capability and inclusion, community resilience and climate action.
Hubbub is an award-winning charity and social enterprise that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment – disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems. Their aim is to revolutionise communications with the public about environmental issues – using everyday language and good design to make environmental actions desirable and tapping into things people are passionate about such as food, fashion, homes and neighbourhoods. This innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.
Since its formation in 2014, Hubbub has delivered more than 60 trailblazing environmental campaigns in collaboration with over 700 partners, helping to shift the national debate on key environmental issues such as food waste, sustainable fashion, air pollution and recycling. Hubbub’s campaigns include #LeedsByExample which brought together 25 of the UK’s largest companies to boost recycling on the high street, a 3-year partnership with IKEA to create the world’s largest consumer-facing sustainability campaign ‘Live Lagom’ and creating a Network of 100 Community Fridges across the UK, each redistributing on average 1.5 tonnes of food every month that would otherwise have gone to waste.
About Sustainable Hive Community Interest Company
Sustainable Hive is a multiple award-winning education consultancy specialising in engaging young minds and supporting teachers. We work with organisations who wish to create exceptional resources for schools and communities by designing inspirational lessons, delivering workshops and leading campaigns. We also provide free support for teachers through our bank of resources and access to expert knowledge on our teachers website www.sustainablelearning.com which also hosts our free online game Sustainable Shaun, available in 24 languages and played in 191 countries. Contact www.sustainablehive.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 ONS August 2020 Internet Access Report
 Environmental Audit Committee, Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy, 2020