Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub join forces with TV’s George Clarke on the Time After Time fund to award £500,000 to the UK’s best eco projects
Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub have joined forces with TV presenter and environmentalist, George Clarke, to find the UK’s most innovative eco projects – with a share of £500,000 available for initiatives which tackle both electronic waste and support digital inclusion.
George, star of hit TV shows, ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ and ‘Restoration Man’ will help select the winners of the 2023 Time After Time fund where grants from £25,000 up to £100,000 will be awarded to a variety of organisations including community groups, charities and social enterprises.
The Time After Time fund — now in its second year — was established in 2022 in response to the nation’s growing e-waste problem, with the UK producing more electrical waste per person than any other country in the world (except for Norway)1.
This year’s scheme will fund projects which reduce e-waste and address the digital divide. This could include projects which help rehome devices to people in need, with Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s research showing there are more than 19 million unused smartphones and laptops gathering dust in homes and garages across the country.
Applications for the Time After Time fund are now open and close on Friday 20 October 2023.
TV Presenter and Architect, George Clarke, said:
“Sustainability and community are two causes that I’m incredibly passionate about, which is why it’s an absolute pleasure to be part of this year’s judging panel for Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund.
“It’s a fantastic initiative both tackling the nation’s growing e-waste problem and helping those in need, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the brilliant and inspiring ideas the applicants come up with.”
The initiative forms part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainably strategy, the Better Connections Plan. It will back up the company’s goals of supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions to tackle e-waste by the end of 2025, and connecting 1 million digitally excluded people across the UK through free and affordable connectivity and services.
Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:
“With George Clarke joining Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s search for the UK’s most innovative and exciting eco projects which cut e-waste and rehome unwanted devices with people in need, this year’s Time After Time fund will play a key role in protecting the planet, championing circularity and improving people’s lives across the country.
“Applications close on 20 October, and we’re excited to receive the brightest ideas from community groups, charities and social enterprises.”
Introducing the winners of the 2022 Time After Time fund
Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub are also announcing the winners of last year’s Time After Time fund, where 10 organisations have been awarded a share of £500,000 for projects which prevent and reduce e-waste.
The projects were selected by a panel of sustainability experts and includes training programmes to teach young people how to repair electricals; a mobile repair bus which will collect e-waste in hard-to-reach communities across Cornwall; and schemes to encourage students to keep their tech for longer.
Gavin Ellis, Co-founder of Hubbub said:
“E-waste is a pressing environmental issue so this funding is very welcome and enables us to support a range of initiatives that will make a real difference. We are particularly delighted that a number of the winning projects aim to engage with people aged 16-24 – who are not only heavy users of electrical items – but are key to helping tackle this issue in the future.
“We are thrilled to award all grant recipients with their funding and look forward to seeing what they achieve.”
The Warren Youth Project in Hull will run a two-year project upskilling young people to repair laptops and prevent them from ending up as e-waste, while also teaching them essential digital skills.
Bristol’s Sustainable Hive CIC will run a series of workshops with schools across the city to educate and train young people on repairing electricals.
The Restart Project aims to reduce e-waste at UK universities by engaging with students at repair cafés so they become advocates of repairing and reusing devices.
Groundwork East will also partner with universities in East England to support students to sustainably dispose of their unwanted tech and encourage them to get devices repaired or rehomed so they can be reused by others.
Foothold Cymru’s Bright Spark’s project aims to reduce e-waste across Carmarthenshire through the creation of an e-waste hub and a series of pop-up events to repair and recycle tech such as smartphones and laptops. The project will also help young people build skills to increase their employability.
Cornwall’s Treverbyn Community Trust is using a converted van to run a mobile electronics repair centre across Cornwall. It will also collect unwanted electrical items from hard-to-reach areas across the county.
Possible, in partnership with The Restart Project, will run ‘Fixing Fast Track’ training programmes for young people at their ‘Fixing Factories’ and repair cafes, providing them with skills to repair electrical items so they can be reused.
The Library of Things will develop their household lending platform to encourage communities to both repair electricals and reuse items such as drills, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, rather than buying new, to support the circular economy and to cut down on e-waste.
Youth and Community Connexions’ electrical repair training programme will support young people from disadvantaged communities. It will teach them skills such as rewiring or changing a fuse, so electricals can be reused and donated to families in need.
Share Portsmouth will create an online map of repair cafés located across the city so residents can find out where to get their electricals fixed or where they can pick up donated devices.
Share Portsmouth will also hold events to encourage residents to sustainably dispose of unwanted tech.