Virgin Media 02 awards £500k to circular economy and digital inclusion projects

Virgin Media 02 and Hubbub have awarded £500,000 to innovative projects that tackle electronic waste (e-waste) and support digital inclusion.

Eight winning projects have been selected from more than 120 entries to receive a share of the Time After Time fund by a panel of judges including TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke, non-profit Material Focus, digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation, and 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 the second most electrical waste per person in the world.

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.

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."

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."

Posted under: