Glasgow North West MP, Carol Monaghan, has donated 40 smart phones to the Scottish Refugee Council as part of the O2 Community Calling programme.
The programme, which is run by O2 and Hubbub, aims to donate 1500 smart phones to digitally excluded families and communities across Glasgow. Members of the public and businesses are encouraged to donate their old phones to help other Glasgow residents overcome digital exclusion.
In Scotland, there are over 928 000 people who are facing digital exclusion – meaning that they are unable to access the internet, stay connected with others, and access support services remotely.
The O2 Community Calling programme aims to address this disparity, by ensuring that deserving recipients have access to their own phone and twelve months of free connectivity (including unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data per month for a year).
On Tuesday 24th August, the Scottish Refugee Council received a donation of 40 phones from Carol Monaghan MP and O2 Community Calling. The phones were donated at an event held in Victoria Park, with the Scottish Refugee Council Board and Community Representatives, Ms Monaghan, and Simon Miller (Virgin Media O2 Deputy Head of Public Affairs & Regional Affairs) in attendance.
The event was an opportunity for Ms Monaghan to meet members of the Scottish Refugee Council, and to hear their perspectives on current UK Home Office legislation on immigration.
Speaking after the event, Monaghan said:
“I was delighted to hand over 40 smart phones to the Scottish Refugee Council on behalf of the O2 Community Calling programme. They are an incredibly deserving organisation, who do fantastic work for refugee and asylum seeker communities not just in Glasgow, but all over Scotland.
“Digital exclusion is a very serious problem. If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it is that digital connection with others and remote access to services are vital. During the pandemic, the vast majority of us relied on the internet and digital devices to keep in touch with loved ones, carry out our jobs, support our children’s education, search for employment, keep our households going, and for entertainment and escapism in very difficult times. A lack of access to these resources is a daunting thought for all of us, let alone for those who have already escaped danger and persecution to reach Scotland.
“As such, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet with the Scottish Refugee Council this week to donate the phones. I had the chance to speak with Community Representatives, and to hear about the Council’s Digital Champions scheme which tackles digital exclusion amongst refugee-led groups.
“I very much look forward to working with the Scottish Refugee Council again in the future. As a life-long Glasgow resident, I can say with absolute certainty: Glasgow, and Scotland, welcomes refugees and asylum seekers.
“Additionally, I would encourage businesses and members of the public to donate their old smart phones to the O2 Community Calling scheme. This will allow other community-based organisations to tackle digital exclusion amongst deserving groups.”
Also speaking after the event, Simon Miller, Virgin Media O2 Deputy Head of Public AffaIrs & Regional Affairs, said: “O2 is committed to taking practical steps to fight digital exclusion and to deliver connectivity to vulnerable individuals who need it the most. That’s what Community Calling is all about and we are delighted to be working with Carol Monaghan to roll out the Community Calling programme in Glasgow.”