Virgin Media O2 is donating £2 million to digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation, to help disadvantaged people across the UK get online and gain vital digital skills, as part of a new three-year partnership.
Virgin Media O2 has become a strategic partner of Good Things Foundation and will work closely with the charity to tackle digital exclusion by helping one million people – including those on low incomes most affected by the cost-of-living crisis; minoritised ethnic groups; and low-skilled workers and older people – to access free connectivity, devices, and digital skills training.
The support will help people who are unable to use the internet carry out essential tasks such as sending emails, accessing online services including booking medical appointments, applying for jobs, taking part in virtual interviews, or accessing online education or training programmes.
This builds on Virgin Media O2’s and Good Things Foundation’s pioneering National Databank initiative which launched in July 2021 and is a like a foodbank but for free mobile data, texts, and calls. Virgin Media O2 is donating more than 61 million GB of free O2 data to the National Databank to help people most affected by the cost of living crisis to stay connected.
It’s also part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections Plan – the company’s new sustainability strategy to create a better, more connected, and greener world for everyone. Virgin Media O2’s partnership with Good Things Foundation is one of the ways it will reach its goals of connecting one million digitally excluded people through free and affordable connectivity and services, and improve the digital skills and confidence of two million people by the end of 2025.
Working together to fix the UK’s Digital Divide
Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation will work together to extend access to free digital skills training, and free O2 mobile data via the National Databank, to more communities across the UK.
Nicola Green from Virgin Media O2 said:
“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.
“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, Group CEO of Good Things Foundation said:
“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 £2 million 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.”
Virgin Media O2’s partnership with Good Things Foundation is just one the ways it is working to tackle digital exclusion across the UK. The company’s Community Calling initiative, created with environmental charity, Hubbub has now rehomed more than 10,000 smartphones with people in need, and has provided a share of £400,000 to five charities to run a pioneering device lending scheme, providing tablets and data to people who need them.