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Barnardo’s and Vodafone aim to hand out thousands of mobile devices

29 May 2020 News

Barnardo’s and Vodafone aim to distribute 10,000 phones and tablets to those most in need during the Covid-19 crisis, and are appealing for donated items. 

They have launched The Great British Tech Appeal, and are asking the public to donate smartphones and tablets that can be given to disadvantaged children, families and the charity workers who support them.

Vodafone will cover all postage and packaging costs and will provide three months’ free connectivity for every device distributed.

Every device will be data wiped, re-boxed with a cable and charger and redistributed. 

The Great British Tech Appeal will run for six weeks. It will also provide devices to the British Red Cross and to services for victims of domestic abuse via the charity SafeLives.

It is estimated that UK homes contain up to 40 million unused electronic gadgets, including mobile phones and tablets. A recent study carried out by The Royal Society of Chemistry concluded that half of UK homes have at least one unused electronic device and 45% have up to five. 

The appeal is looking for any smartphone or tablet in working condition. Donating tech is free of charge.

Children in 'digital poverty' will fall behind 

Javed Khan, chief executive at Barnardo’s, said: “The coronavirus crisis is having serious consequences for the vulnerable children and families we support across the UK. ‘Digital poverty’ – the lack of devices or internet access – means many children already at a disadvantage will fall further behind at school and miss out on vital support such as counselling.”

Any donated device that cannot be used will be responsibly recycled via Vodafone’s existing accredited partners.

Nick Jeffery, chief executive at Vodafone UK, said: “We know that many thousands of children and families still can’t access learning or essential support because they don’t have the devices or connectivity they need.

“The Great British Tech Appeal relies on the generosity of the public and we call on them to get behind this appeal. Your old phone or tablet really could change a life.”

The scheme recommends donors reset their device to its default factory settings and also disable any ‘find my device’ functionality. If this is not disabled, the scheme cannot process or donate the device.

There is an online form to receive a donation kit with a freepost box and pre-paid returns envelope. Devices can be posted at any post office or post box.

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