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It’s ok to feel lonely, particularly at a time like this. Don’t suffer in silence, we can all help each other stay connected.

Keeping the UK connected

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We are living through challenging times, but we are also witnessing many extraordinary acts of generosity, as people reach out to those who need help the most. We at Vodafone are proud to be able to offer technologies that bring people together and help them feel included during this crisis.

Making a difference with our partners

We’ve been working with some of our fantastic charity partners to combat isolation.

Digital connectivity, and sensitively-designed tools and services, can allow the most vulnerable people to live independent lives. Our Connected Living partnership with Mencap gives people with a learning disability, and their carers, access to technology through Internet of Things-enabled devices and personalised digital services. This Internet of Things capability allows different devices in the home to be connected, giving people greater accessibility and independence in their everyday lives.

There are currently around 100 people with a learning disability using the Connected Living solution in Mencap supported living homes across the UK. During the lockdown, this is enabling them to stay in constant contact with friends and relatives – despite not being able to leave home. The specialist tablets have also been given to residents who are self-isolating as a precaution, so they can use the video call function to reduce physical contact when receiving support from their carer.

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No Isolation’s KOMP units make it easy for elderly people to stay in contact with their families and friends

With No Isolation, we’re helping the elderly and vulnerable feel more connected through the use of KOMP video units. These simple-to-use devices are tailor-made for people who have little or no experience using smartphones, computers or tablets thanks to high-contrast screens, clear audio and the ability to share photos, messages and video calls with loved ones and carers. The feedback from people using the units has been amazing.

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We’re also supporting key organisations such as the British Red Cross and Age UK in their vital work with the vulnerable and elderly during this crisis. We’ve provided connectivity and devices to keep front line staff connected, and we’ve made significant financial donations to enable them to build more capacity into their advice and support phones lines – a critical service during this time. We are encouraging viewers of our new TV ad to donate £5 to the British Red Cross by texting CONNECT to 70141.

Of course, isolation can be an issue at any age. We’ve also provided connectivity to organisations like Centrepoint and Teenage Cancer Trust to help younger people keep connected.

We’ve also been supporting the NHS  and have partnered with crisis support charity Hestia through our Vodafone Foundation to develop the Bright Sky app.

Looking ahead

I am sure that when this crisis is over and life returns to normal we will cherish physical, face-to-face interactions even more and build on the wonderful community spirit many have demonstrated, whether its clapping for key workers, delivering food to people who need it most, or volunteering for the NHS.

Loneliness will still exist after the lockdown, but we will be more determined than ever to help the most vulnerable in our society feel connected, safe and loved in whatever way we can by helping to keep the UK connected.