A Rochdale-based charity is helping people facing homelessness and vulnerable families to stay connected to vital support services and their loved ones, after distributing over 50 donated smartphones.
The phones were donated by mobile phone provider O2 and the environmental charity Hubbub in a bid to help fight digital exclusion across the Greater Manchester area. Each donated phone includes unlimited call minutes and texts, and a monthly data allowance of 6GB for a full year.
Stepping Stone Projects is a charity that aims to prevent homelessness, transform lives and empower people to live independently. The charity’s Chief Executive, Dave Smith, said: “This donation has made a massive difference to some of our most vulnerable customers, many of whom sleep rough.
“The phones have been given to people who were without the devices or connectivity necessary to stay in touch with family and friends or to access essential services through the internet.
“They include young people leaving care, people with complex needs and people with no recourse to public funds.
“Digital exclusion is a key factor in poverty and we hope that this very generous donation, alongside ongoing support from Stepping Stone Projects, will help them to improve their lives.”
Emily Watson, Creative Partner at Hubbub, added: “We’re thrilled to be able to support 50 Rochdale residents through our Community Calling project.
“I was able to meet one of the Stepping Stone Projects beneficiaries when we delivered some devices, and it was heart-warming to see just how tangible the impact a project like this can have on people’s lives.
“We’re urging anyone who has a spare phone lying around at home to think about donating it – it could be a lifeline for someone in need. You can donate from anywhere in the UK and your old phone will be rehomed in one of 6 UK cities struggling with deprivation.”
The project, known as the Community Calling Campaign, has been successfully trialled in London before it’s roll-out to Greater Manchester in an attempt to tackle widespread unemployment and poverty in the region.
Anyone with a spare mobile phone that is in good working order can donate by dropping off phones at any Manchester library or by signing up to receive a freepost label or envelope. Data will be wiped, and the phone sanitised and refurbished before distribution to a beneficiary of the scheme.