O2. has partnered with Big Issue to offer free mobile data for vendors of big issues
Each month, more than 200 vendors will be eligible for free data plans. This will allow them to sell cashless, access online services, and keep in touch with their families.
They will get 7GB data, a free sim, unlimited calls and text and a free sim.
My family are in Newcastle and I’m in Bournemouth, so being able to stay in touch when we’re so far apart has benefits for my mental health and wellbeing
According to The Big Issue, the scheme works as a “smart” system. “food bank for data”This initiative aims to combat data poverty by offering free access to those who are in greatest need.
The Databank is designed to support O2’s pledge to get more than 255,000 people living in poverty connected by the end of 2023.
According to The Big Issue, being inaccessible to the digital world can mean paying more for essential goods, losing out on employment opportunities, and being denied welfare benefits.
Many vendors have seen their sales rise by at least a third since they started offering cashless selling in 2019.
Rodney Lyall, a Bournemouth Big Issue vendor said: “I can have a card reader, which increases my sales, but I need a mobile phone for that.
“I can now ring the Big Issue office when I need to, I can do banking on my phone. When I check my balance, I know how many magazines I can afford to buy that day. And my family are in Newcastle and I’m in Bournemouth, so being able to stay in touch when we’re so far apart has benefits for my mental health and wellbeing. You feel part of things.”
This partnership will make sure that our vendors are included in the next round of negotiations.
Russell Blackman is the commercial managing director of The Big Issue. “We are incredibly excited about this partnership. Not only does it mean our vendors will be able to boost their sales, but it also means they will be able to stay connected to their loved ones this Christmas.
“Whilst in 2019 we started to help ensure our vendors were connected, there are still many who need access. This partnership will ensure even more of our vendors are no longer left behind.
“We are incredibly grateful to O2 for this opportunity and are very excited to see the good that will inevitably come out of this much needed National Databank.”
Simon Valcarcel, marketing director at Virgin Media O2, said: “Data poverty affects many millions of people in the UK, so we set up the National Databank with the help of Good Things Foundation to help those most in need stay connected.
“This Christmas, we’ve partnered with the Big Issue to provide over 200 of their vendors with access to the free data each month.
“The aim is to help them take mobile payments in an ever more cashless society, access the services that they need and stay connected to loved ones.”