41% of Grandparents could be set to spend Christmas Day alone
O2 has teamed up with a selection of local Age UK charities to provide older members of communities across the UK a range of tech devices and support to help them stay in touch with loved ones on Christmas Day.
The initiative comes following new research from O2 revealing that 4 in 10 (41%) British grandparents claim they will have to spend Christmas Day without their family this year due to the pandemic, meaning that a virtual celebration is on the cards for many.
In addition, concerning findings from Age UK’s latest Digital Inclusion Report* found that 3.9 million people aged 65 and over in the UK do not use the internet and therefore won’t have access to the technology to stay in touch with their family virtually, which is why O2 and Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland and Age UK Blackburn with Darwen have stepped in.
The UK’s number one network* will work closely with Age UK, Leicester Shire & Rutland and Blackburn with Darwen, to identify grandparents who are set to spend Christmas day alone, and who don’t have the tech knowledge, confidence or equipment to be able to video call loved ones on Christmas Day.
As well as donating devices, O2 Gurus will be on hand to support the local Age UKs to help recipients get set up and feel comfortable using the technology they receive – following O2 findings that nearly 8 in 10 (79%) grandparents wish they had the confidence to use tech to communicate with their grandchildren.
The initiative aims to connect families virtually who can’t spend the day together, as 38% of grandparents say that seeing their grandchildren virtually would mean as much to them as seeing them in person given the current circumstances.
With the risk of not being able to see their families this year, over half (53%) of grandparents say that prospect makes them not want to celebrate Christmas at all. This is understandable, considering that 62% of grandparents say that seeing the excitement on grandchildren’s’ faces unwrapping presents is one of the best parts of Christmas.
Faced with a potential Christmas without seeing families in person, the top ways grandparents plan on spending this Christmas is watching TV (64%), watching Christmas films (42%) and indulging in Christmas food (38%).
Nina Bibby, CMO, at O2 says: “Many are starting to realise the very real prospect that we may not be able to be in the same room as our loved ones this Christmas. This can be daunting, especially for those who lack confidence and knowledge around technology to keep in touch virtually. By partnering with Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland and Age UK Blackburn with Darwen and extending the great work they do to keep the elderly generation connected, we hope to help those who can’t be with their loved ones in person to have the opportunity to keep in touch with them digitally over Christmas.
Elaine Jennings, Head of Business Development at Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, one of the charities taking part, says: “We’re pleased to have the support from O2 in helping deliver technology to those who need it most this Christmas. We do a lot of work in communities to help increase digital education and to get this support at such a key time of the year, when communication means the most means that we can continue to deliver our services across the Borough and keep people supported.”
O2 is committed to tackling digital exclusion across the UK and in May 2020 partnered with charity Hubbub with the aim to gift 10,000 unused smartphones to vulnerable individuals in the most deprived areas of the UK. The Community Calling campaign is a lifeline for people who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Through working with local councils and organisations such as Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland and Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, the partnership aims to help keep people connected during these challenging times.
Notes to Editors
The consumer research
The research was conducted by OnePoll who surveyed 1,000 grandparents across the UK between 10.11.20 – 17.11.20
*More information about Age UK’s policies on digital inclusion can be found here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/policy-positions/active-communities/ppp_digital-_inclusion_uk.pdf
*Based on total number of connections to O2 network vs. number of connections to each of Vodafone, BT Group and Three as of 30.06.20. To verify, see www.o2.co.uk/network.