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Device bank in Coventry to tackle digital exclusion 

Tech charity Jangala, in partnership with Virgin Media O2, donates 200 rapidly deployable ‘Get Boxes’ to #CovConnects device bank initiative to help tackle exclusion and poverty.  

‘Get Boxes’ are rapidly deployable devices with free internet connectivity that offer secure and reliable Wi-Fi. The 200 such boxes donated by Jangala will now be distributed to community, social enterprise and voluntary organisations across Coventry, via the #CovConnects device bank.

blue and black iphone case

Photo by Franck

This includes organisations supporting people living in temporary accommodation, as part of a targeted effort to tackle digital exclusion in Coventry and improve access for residents to the digital world that has such a role to play in modern life. 

As part of the initiative, Virgin Media O2 is offering a year of free O2 mobile data via the National Databank that it set up with the charity Good Things Foundation. 

As part of a wider digital inclusion programme, Jangala and #CovConnects have already been collaborating with Valley House, a non-profit organisation that works with victims of domestic abuse and violence. Get Boxes helped residents to stay connected while in temporary accommodation, so they could access the benefits of a wide range of services. 

Now, the new partnership enables Jangala and #CovConnects to scale the current pilot, providing a longer-term sustainable solution for connectivity that will support the devices distributed through the #CovConnects device bank. 

What’s more, the #CovConnects team will provide wraparound support for organisations and their residents covering such matters as connectivity, skills and support, ensuring maximum benefit to the recipients.   

Caroline, Director of Operations at Valley House, says: ‘Our service users have found the Get Boxes very beneficial, it has given them, and their children access to a wider range of opportunities, such as education, employment and social activities. We have found the partnership very supportive and it has provided reliable, affordable, and accessible connectivity to our service users.’ 

Adrienne Bellingeri, Head of Customer Services at Coventry City Council, adds: ‘All aspects of our lives are increasingly heading online. Employment opportunities, public services and even everyday tasks rely on the Internet more than ever.  That’s why #CovConnects are working hard to reduce the digital divide in our city. 

‘We launched the device bank in June 2023 and it’s already provided lots of support to residents and organisations in our city. However, we are keen to do more and want to work with our partners on this. That’s why we are so pleased to be able to build on our strong partnership with Jangala and work closely with them on this project.’ 

Richard Thanki, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Jangala, says: ‘Connectivity in today’s world is more than just access to the internet; it’s access to opportunities, information and community. By focusing our efforts on a variety of different settings – including homes, shared accommodations and social settings – we aim to ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can tap into the benefits of being connected. We are delighted to be working with the #CovConnects team at Coventry City Council as part of Jangala’s mission to connect 4m people to the internet globally by 2029.’ 

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, adds: ‘We’re proud to support #CovConnects and Coventry City Council via our partnership with Jangala to power Get Boxes with free O2 mobile data from the National Databank. This will support communities across the city to stay in touch with loved ones, and access essential online services from applying for jobs to booking medical appointments and helping young people with their studies.’ 

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