Vodafone has announced the launch of a new initiative allowing UK charities to apply for free connectivity.
The charities.connected scheme is part of Vodafone’s recently announced pledge to connect one million people by the end of 2022 and tackle digital exclusion.
All registered UK charities are eligible to apply for free data connectivity to help individuals and families get online. The scheme will also support charities in improving their digital capabilities under the new initiative from the mobile service operator.
The free connectivity comes in the form of SIM cards with 20GB data, plus free calls and texts every month for six months. The SIM cards will work in any SIM enabled device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, laptop or MiFi dongle.
According to the 2021 Charity Digital Skills report, 45% of charities said they have given their users devices, data or support to enable them to get online, with 20% reporting that they had to cancel services because they did not have the skills or technology needed to deliver them.
Vodafone UK general counsel and external affairs, Helen Lamprell, said: “At Vodafone, we’ve put tackling digital exclusion at the heart of our business with our pledge to connect one million people by the end of 2022.
We hope that by giving free connectivity to charities across the UK, we can enable them to better support their local communities, particularly those that are digitally excluded. We want to support projects big and small – please help us share this offer so we can reach as many charities as possible.”
Charities can apply for multiple SIMs and will be able to request repeat applications if the organisation has a range of services underway that are designed to tackle digital exclusion.
It’s not the first time that Vodafone has launched a scheme to provide connectivity for those who need it most. In 2020 it launched the schools.connected programme which donated 350,000 SIM cards to 9,000 schools and colleges across the UK to help pupils access online learning while schools were closed during the pandemic.
To apply for charities.connected not-for-profit organisations need to complete an online application form and submit information to prove how a free connectivity package will support their project and the number of people who could benefit.