Good Things support VMO2 & Hubbub’s initiative tackling e-waste and digital exclusion

Eight winning projects have been selected from more than 120 entries by a panel of judges including TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke, non-profit, Material Focus, digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation, plus Hubbub and Virgin Media O2

Good Things were pleased to join an esteemed panel of judges to choose eight winning projects for Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund, which is awarding £500,000 to projects that give tech a second life and help people get online.

The winners have been selected from more than 120 entries by a panel of judges including TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke, non-profit, Material Focus, digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation, plus Hubbub and Virgin Media O2.

Grants of up to £100,000 will support initiatives across the country that give unwanted tech a second life and help communities in need get online. This includes schemes to rehome donated devices to refugees and people experiencing homelessness; to provide young people with skills to repair and refurbish broken phones and laptops to help them get jobs; and a far-reaching research report into addressing e-waste and supporting digital inclusion. 

The Time After Time fund — now in its second year — was established in 2022 in response to the nation’s growing e-waste problem, with the UK producing more electrical waste per person than any other country in the world (except for Norway)

It forms part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, and is helping the company achieve its goals of supporting people to carry out 10 million ‘circular actions’ to tackle e-waste, and to connect 1 million digitally excluded people across the UK through free and affordable connectivity and services by the end of 2025.

Virgin Media O2 is also working to achieve zero waste operations and products by the end of 2025, and has removed 65 tonnes of single-use plastic since 2021 – the equivalent weight of five double-decker buses.

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:

“The winners of this year’s Time After Time fund are an amazing set of innovative and inspiring projects led by talented people across the country, which share our vision of stopping unwanted tech going to landfill, where instead it can be rehomed with people who need it so they can get online.

“With Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s £500,000 funding, these brilliant initiatives will transform communities – providing devices, digital skills, support and training, that will enrich people’s lives, give tech a second life, and help protect the planet.”   

George Clarke said:

“I was blown away by the incredible entries to the Time After Time fund, which made the judging process extremely difficult, yet so worthwhile.

“The winning projects will put old tech to good use so it can be used again and again, and help people in need to access the online world. Huge congratulations to the winners!”    

Gavin Ellis, Co-Founder and Director at Hubbub said:

“There is an abundance of smart devices in households and businesses that have potential to help the estimated 1.5 million households are digitally disconnected get online. These projects will tackle digital exclusion through research, training and the redistribution of devices and continue to raise awareness about the issues of e-waste and digital inclusion.”

Introducing the winners of the Time After Time fund

The eight winning projects to receive grants from the Time After Time fund are:

Single Homeless Project – London

Single Homeless Project has been awarded a grant of £52,600 for a project providing tailored digital skills training and rehomed devices to people experiencing homelessness. The devices will help people to access essential online services such as applying for jobs, locating food banks, booking medical appointments, and contacting loved ones.

SOFEA – Oxfordshire

With a grant of £100,000, SOFEA will repair and upgrade second-hand smartphones, laptops, and tablets and provide them to disadvantaged young people across Oxfordshire, along with training to improve their skills to help them get into work. 

Coventry City Council

Coventry City Council’s #CovConnects programme will use an £80,000 grant to run a device lending bank to distribute end-of-life council devices to people in need across the city, helping them to get online. 

The devices will be powered by free O2 mobile data from the National Databank (set up by Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation, and is like a foodbank but free O2 mobile data, text and calls), and the initiative will provide digital skills training, too.  The University of Warwick will also carry out research into how circularity can address the climate crisis and support digital inclusion.    

Green Alliance – nationwide

The Green Alliance’s grant of £70,000 will support the charity’s research project into redistributing e-waste to tackle digital exclusion and will create a series of policy recommendations for government.

Screen Share UK – nationwide

Screen Share UK’s £46,700 grant will fund a laptop repair skills training programme and provide refurbished devices to more than 500 refugees and asylum seekers across the UK. This will help them access essential online websites, such as booking medical appointments, accessing benefits, training and job opportunities, and to connect with loved ones. 

Giroscope – Hull

Charity Giroscope has been awarded a grant of £59,000 to expand their project which rehomes refurbished donated computers, laptops, and smartphones with people in need across Hull, and provides skills and work experience for neurodivergent young people. 

Power 2 Connect – London

Thanks to a £36,400 grant, Power 2 Connect will recycle, refurbish, and redistribute donated smartphones, laptops, and tablets to people who need them across Wandsworth. The charity will also hold digital skills training sessions to help people use their gifted devices. 

The Making Rooms – Blackburn

The Making Room will use a £55,300 grant to run the Blackburn Repair Space project which will rehome hundreds of unwanted laptops with young people who are digitally excluded, and provide digital skills and laptop repair training sessions to help them get into work.