New scheme helps disadvantaged people find their calling
GSUK and Three UK have announced the launch of a new scheme called ‘Reconnected’ which will see some of the UK’s most disadvantaged people connected to the digital world thanks to free mobile devices.
The scheme, which launched on 1st February 2017, asks members of the public to donate their unused smartphones to Three, who are working closely with GSUK to give the handsets to disadvantaged members of the community, such as those who are at risk of homelessness and looking for work, people who have just left the military or victims of domestic abuse.
Leading UK Network Three has teamed up with GSUK and other reconnected team members (Business in the Community, The Hyde Group and Good Things Foundation) so that the handsets can easily be distributed to those who need to get online.
Prior to the distribution of these handsets, they are received at GSUK’s recycling and recovery hub in Surbiton, where the devices are processed. This involves the handset being wiped, tested, having the latest software upgrades installed as well as being paired with a matching charger and data cable (USB cord). The handsets are then sent to community organisations whom distribute the devices to individuals selected from community initiatives.
Those who receive a device via the Reconnected scheme will also be given three months free access to the Three network allowing them to go online, sign up to job alerts and make important calls without having to worry about the costs.
It’s estimated that over 20 million phones are left unused in homes, and it’s handsets like these that the Reconnected team wants to redistribute to those in need. There are over 15 million adults who don’t have smartphones in the UK, which can leave people feeling isolated or behind when it comes to using technology, applying for jobs and staying in touch with their friends and family.
Other unused phones end up as electronic waste, which is a huge loss of valuable materials, and also contributes to a mounting and costly problem in the UK where electronics are not recycled properly.
“We are delighted to be involved and to be able to support wonderful schemes such as Reconnected. Knowing that we are able to help people get online via the donated handsets so they can find a job and get their lives back on track is extremely rewarding for us.”
Vicki Blenkarn, Director of Engagement at Three says, “Reconnected is a simple but very effective way to help those in need to get online. Initially, we rolled the scheme out internally and the feedback from our employees has been fantastic. We are therefore so excited to launch Reconnected with the public to get even more people involved. Whether it’s keeping in touch with family or checking updates on job websites such as LinkedIn, phones have become part of our lives. Handing over an unused phone is a small gesture that can make a huge difference.”
Christian McBride, Chief Executive from GSUK, a partner in the Reconnected scheme says, “We are incredibly proud to support such a great initiative and be the preferred partner for Three UK. As a recycling business this type of project is at the heart of our operation. We are delighted to be involved and to be able to support wonderful schemes such as Reconnected. Knowing that we are able to help people get online via the donated handsets so they can find a job and get their lives back on track is extremely rewarding for us.”
Mary, 58, from Hertfordshire received a phone via the Hyde Group in conjunction with the Reconnected scheme, “Before I got my Reconnected smartphone, I was terrified of technology. I wanted a job, so I knew I needed to get online. My employment advisor helped me to develop my confidence and by the end of the three-month programme, I was emailing prospective employers and talking to my employment advisor via email. I set myself up with a Three SIM package at the end of the three months and it’s opened so many doors for me.”
To donate an old phone, pop in to your local Three store. To find your nearest store, visit www.three.co.uk
For more information please click here.