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New scheme helps disadvantaged people find their calling

Three UK has 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 phones.

Reconnect is asking members of the public to donate their unused smartphones to Three, who will then work closely with partners 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.

Three has teamed up with charities and recycling partner GSUK so that the handsets can easily be distributed to those who need to get online. Those who receive a phone 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.

Ofcom estimate that over 20 million phones are left unused in homes, and it’s handsets like these that Three wants to redistribute to those in need. Over 15 million adults don’t have access to smartphones in the UK, which can leave them feeling isolated or left 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, according to Three, electronics are not recycled properly.

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.”

Helen Milner, chief executive from Good Things Foundation, a partner in the Reconnected scheme, says: “We support some of the UK’s most disadvantaged people to improve their lives through digital. Alongside developing their skills, we help people to compete for jobs, connect with friends and family, access money savings and much more. Now that we’re joining forces with Three’s customers as part of the Reconnected scheme, their unused phones can help the people we work with become more confident with technology and make the most of our support programmes.”

To donate an old phone, ask how in your local Three store. To find your nearest store, visit www.three.co.uk