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Latest News

Our community is calling – you can help us tackle digital exclusion and e-waste


In this member blog, Libby Bowles, Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Hive, a Partnership member, shares details of their Community Calling campaign: 

Our community is calling! We’re delighted to shout from the rooftops about Community Calling, a new Bristol-wide project improving the lives of local digitally excluded folk.  It’s part of a bigger programme tackling social isolation and growing levels of e-waste by delivering thousands of refurbished, upcycled smartphones around the UK to vulnerable digitally disconnected individuals. Sustainable Hive are managing the Bristol project rollout, in partnership with Hubbub, funded by O2 and Aviva Insurance (funding the Bristol project), with Reconome processing the smartphones.

COVID19 has been hard on everyone. Never before have we relied so much on our phones and the internet for social connectivity. Digitally excluded people who are unable to connect to the internet are struggling to connect with loved ones, employment opportunities and health care; things many of us have the luxury of not worrying about.  At the same time, the UK creates the second highest levels of electronic waste per capita in the world. Community Calling is taking on these two challenges by asking UK businesses and residents to donate and give a new lease of life to the 28 million smartphones lying around unused in UK homes.

At the start of Lockdown 1, Hubbub piloted this campaign in London. After the success of the initial pilot, Hubbub has expanded this life-changing initiative to Bristol, with the goal of redistributing 1,000 smartphones across the Bristol area, tackling the digital divide.

All donated smartphones are digitally wiped, cleaned and come with 12 months of internet (6GB internet per month), unlimited calls and texts, as well as access to free digital training and financial wellbeing support. Through 20+ referral partner organisations across the Bristol region, these smartphones are then given to vulnerable members of the community. To date beneficiaries have included the elderly, asylum seekers, survivors of domestic abuse and those in low-income households.

How can you help?

  1. As a business, rehome unused company smartphones currently lingering in a dusty drawer; 80% of existing phones in the UK are lying unused.
  2. Spread the word to employees or customers, asking them to donate old smartphones to transform the lives of members of your community.
  3. Gift a community donation. You can still support the digitally excluded local to your business if you don’t have any old smartphones. Financial donations will be invested in the bulk-purchasing of second-hand smartphones, contact to discuss further.
  4. Host a drop off point. Help make it easier for employees/ customers to drop off their old smartphones.

Further information

Sustainable Hive are managing the Bristol project rollout of Community Calling, in partnership with Hubbub, funded by O2 and Aviva Insurance (funding the Bristol project), with Reconome processing the smartphones.

Who are we? 

Sustainable Hive Community Interest Company is a multi-award-winning education consultancy specialising in engaging young minds, supporting teachers and businesses whilst delivering campaigns and projects with sustainability at their heart. We pride ourselves on offering an attentive, bespoke service, paying attention to the smallest details.

We’re a small experienced team of doers from education backgrounds; we share a curiosity and desire to create positive change, and endeavour to motivate particularly young people with a similar outlook whilst providing opportunities for them to be heard.

We are passionate about the environment and the wealth of learning opportunities in the natural world that we can harness to capture people’s curiosity for a sustainable future.  We also work closely with other local creative individuals including our graphic designer, animator and film company and can offer these services as part of our work. You can read more about the team here.


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