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As the public continues to face an unrelenting cost of living crisis, Hillcrest has secured 300 SIM cards from Vodafone, preloaded with 20GB of data per month and unlimited calls and texts to help digitally excluded people get online and stay connected with friends and family.
The SIM cards were secured through Vodafone’s Charities Connected initiative, which aims to bring an end to digital poverty. The SIM cards are pre-loaded to provide free connectivity for six months.
Hillcrest’s successful bid comes as part of its digital inclusion strategy with a specific focus on supporting a large number of people in the community overcome a lack of access to affordable digital provision.
The Dundee-based social landlord and charity has recently distributed iPads to digitally excluded people and created a team of Digital Champions from its staff to support those who struggle with the internet and apps, just some of the measures undertaken by Hillcrest to ensure no-one is left behind by the increasing transition from paper or in-person to digital services.
Referring to the initiative, a Hillcrest Homes tenant said: “Thank you so much for the pre-loaded SIM card. Being on Statutory Sick Pay, it’s often very hard to be able to afford to top up my phone, so it has been a massive help to me with the situation I’m in. With this new SIM card, I have been able to contact doctors and other services that I’ve needed – it’s been a saviour.
“I appreciate all the help I’ve had, and being able to contact people easily without worrying about how I’m going to be able to get in touch has been brilliant.”
Hillcrest Chief Executive Angela Linton said: “With more and more services and information now fully digital, there is a real risk that those who are digitally excluded may be left behind with no easy way of undertaking simple actions such as updating Universal Credit information or booking appointments.
“However, this funding marks another fantastic stride forward in our goal to support as many digitally excluded people as possible, and we’re delighted that Vodafone has made this possible through their support.”
Emma Reynolds, Head of Communications, Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs at Vodafone UK said: “We are committed to tackling digital exclusion. We hope that by providing free connectivity to Hillcrest and the other amazing charities across the UK who have such an enormous impact on their local communities, we can help create a more inclusive digital society. We urge any organisation who thinks they can benefit to apply online and look forward to hearing how this connectivity has helped.”
Vodafone’s Charities Connected initiative recently hit its halfway milestone, having donated connectivity to 500,000 people living in digital exclusion. The initiative is part of its commitment to tackle digital exclusion and connect one million people by the end of 2022.