Good Things Foundation launches National Databank

The National Databank launches with support from our partners Virgin Media O2 - following a three month pilot with 10 of Good Things Foundation’s community partners.

Today we are excited to launch the National Databank with support from our partners Virgin Media O2, following a successful three month pilot with 10 of Good Things Foundation’s community partners across the country – that saw 416 data vouchers distributed to people cut off from essential online services and support. 

There’s a hidden crisis in the UK.1.5 million homes have no connection to the internet (Ofcom, 2021) and 2 million people struggle to afford internet access (Ofcom, Affordability of communications services 2021).

This means they can’t connect with loved ones, work or study, or access vital services like online food shopping, banking, and medical appointments. 

It’s not OK to leave millions of people locked out of the digital world. 

Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation, said: “Having sufficient data in our increasingly digital society is not a nice to have, it’s an absolute essential. With Christmas coming up and many set to spend the festive period alone, being connected to loved ones and to spend less on bills could make the world of difference 

“The National Databank – which can be thought of as a ‘food bank for data’ – is already doing great work to bridge the digital divide. We’re very proud to be rolling out nationwide and we’re delighted that Virgin Media O2 is upping its data pledge this Christmas. Together, we can come together to help address the issue of data poverty in the UK once and for all.” 

The National Databank, rolling out from today, is a central hub where community groups can access free data voucher codes and SIM cards for people who need them.

Data from the Databank will be distributed by Good Things Foundation through a network of thousands of community partners across the UK. From now until early 2022, they will only be able to reach local people already known to them. 

The pilot highlighted that a 7GB monthly donation wasn’t enough to help people access all of the essential services they need, so next year the monthly amount of data we provide is increasing from 7GB to 15GB per month. 

In the pilot, Good Things Foundation trained and registered the 10 community partners with the Databank site, setting them up with website logins and giving them help on using the site. They received a stock of O2 SIM cards to be distributed with data vouchers if needed. The local community partners then had access to an allowance of data vouchers on the databank site, which refreshes each month. 

Over 416 data vouchers were distributed over three months during our pilot, supporting hundreds of people to get online and reap the benefits of the digital world.

Maria, 30 from Birmingham explains how the data voucher she received from the National Databank pilot programme has completely transformed her life. Maria says: “The donation has allowed me to order prescriptions and attend GP video calls and online physiotherapy sessions for my disabled mother, but most importantly it has provided an escape for me at a difficult time.”  

Amir, 41 from Northumberland says: “I was struggling to put food on the table, let alone able to afford any data to use the internet, but through the National Databank programme the whole family has benefitted.” Originally from Syria, Amir’s family struggles to make ends meet, but thanks to free data from the National Databank, Amir has been able to reach out to employers and make new contacts, and his children have been able to access the internet for educational purposes.  

Today Virgin Media O2 is also supercharging its donation commitment to Good Things Foundation – with a data pledge offering even more free O2 mobile data to tackle data poverty. For every plan purchased with O2 between 1st November and 31st January, Virgin Media O2 is donating 10GB data to the National Databank to help tackle data poverty. Through this pledge they expect to triple their original data commitment to the National Databank.

For help with digital skills, and the information you need to get involved with the data voucher scheme next year, you can contact your local Online Centre here. 

For businesses or organisations wanting to support Good Things Foundation to continue our work to close the digital divide, please get in touch at hello@goodthingsfoundation.org

 

 

  • National Databank

    We will help 500,000 people who are cut off from the internet with a route out of data poverty, in partnership with Virgin Media O2.

  • Data poverty and devices

    We can’t assume people with the internet and an old device know how to use them. Even when people have access to these things, they may not have...