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Virgin Money and Good Things Foundation team up to support millions of households facing digital exclusion across the UK

Virgin Money Link opens in a new window and the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation Link opens in a new window, have teamed up to help millions of people facing digital exclusion across the nation by introducing the National Databank programme Link opens in a new window into Virgin Money’s full network of stores.

Latest data1 compiled by Good Things Foundation shows that although 77% of people in the UK believe having internet access is an essential need, 1 in 14 households have no home internet access at all, more than 2.5 million households struggle to afford broadband and 10.2 million people lack the most basic digital skills to use the internet.

Aiming to help reduce the digital divide, Virgin Money – the first and only bank in the UK to take part in the programme – has worked with Good Things Foundation to introduce the National Databank2 into its 91 UK stores.

The National Databank works like a foodbank, but provides free mobile data, texts and calls for people in need. Through the programme, which was founded by Good Things Foundation and Virgin Media O2, digitally excluded people (anyone that doesn’t have regular access to the internet) can visit their nearest Virgin Money store and pick up an O2 sim card loaded with 20GB of free data – enough for around 220 hours of internet browsing per month. The free data allowance renews every month for six months.

Good Things Foundation has also provided specialist training to the bank’s customer service colleagues to help them better identify and support individuals impacted by digital exclusion and signpost them to a nearby National Device Bank Link opens in a new window, whether it is a Virgin Money store or not. In addition, through a range of initiatives colleagues across the bank will help to raise awareness and secure donations to Good Thing Foundation’s National Device Bank programme, which works alongside the National Databank to provide free smart devices to people who are unable to afford them.

Finally, to help bridge the digital skills gap, Virgin Money and Good Things Foundation will work with Learn My Way, an online digital skills platform, to provide training to anyone looking for help to improve their knowledge of using the internet. The sessions, which can take place both in store and online, will cover various topics, including advice on how to stay safe when browsing and information on how to access essential online services.

James Peirson, General Counsel & Purpose Officer at Virgin Money, said: “Digital exclusion is a real issue in the UK and one that needs prioritising. For many low or no-income households, paying for broadband is often seen as a luxury that they can’t afford, but in reality, it is an essential purchase – especially in this digital age. That’s why we are proud to support the vital work of Good Things Foundation by making the National Databank programme easier for people in need to access across the UK. We are also keen to encourage other organisations that are in a position to help to join the initiative. Whether that’s by becoming a National Databank themselves or donating their old smart devices that would otherwise go to waste. Each small gesture goes towards making a huge difference, and by working together we can try put an end to the digital divide.”

Helen Milner OBE, Group CEO, Good Things Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to help tackle digital exclusion by extending our partnership with Virgin Money to make the National Databank available to its full network of 91 stores.

There are still 2 million households that struggle to afford internet access in the UK today, and 10 million adults lack the most basic digital skills. We need to act now.

We urge organisations to apply to become a National Databank and become part of our National Digital Inclusion Network, helping local communities access data, devices and digital skills through the National Databank, the National Device Banks, and the Digital Skills platform Learn My Way.

By the end of 2025, our ambition is to engage 1 million people helping them benefit from the digital world and support 5,000 Digital Inclusion Hubs across the UK. Together we can fix the digital divide.”

For details of Virgin Money store locations, visit: Store Finder | Virgin Money UK Link opens in a new window

To find out more about Good Things Foundation or to locate the nearest community organisation taking part in the National Databank programme, visit: Link opens in a new window


1 Link opens in a new window

2 National Databank was initially introduced into a select number of Virgin Money stores via a phased pilot period. An initial 16 stores took part in the programme for 6 months in November 2022 followed by a further 17 stores in May 2023. With the rollout now taking place across all remaining stores – equal to 91 in total.