In a world where digital devices help keep us up to speed with daily events, a large portion of people are not able to connect. Everyone deserves the chance to communicate with the people they love, but unfortunately not everyone is able to. In this edit of TALA TALKS, we're learning more about Hubbub and their work with O2 on an initiative to connect the digitally excluded across the UK with their loved ones. 


Hey! My name’s Kirstie and I work for an environmental charity called Hubbub. We design and run campaigns that try to nudge behaviours in all sorts of areas, from fast fashion to food waste. Environmental issues can be super daunting, so we like to run campaigns that make people feel happy and positive, not scared or guilty. It’s also really important to us that our campaigns have a social impact as well as environmental.

How often do you pick up your phone during the day? How regularly do you check in with family, keep up to date with friends on social media, or do general life admin like checking your bank balance or organising a doctor’s appointment? Chances are you do one or more of these things every day, some multiple times a day.

11 million people across the UK can’t do these things because they’re digitally excluded. Having access to the latest smartphone has come to be something that many of us (myself included!) take for granted. Yet not having a phone can be an isolating, lonely experience that can have a real impact on not only your mental health but on your physical health, career opportunities and education.

That’s why we launched Community Calling at the start of the year during the first lockdown. It’s a smartphone donation scheme – you send us your old smartphones that are sat in the back of drawers collecting dust and we pass it on to someone who is vulnerable and in need of a device. We collect phones from anywhere across the UK and we currently rehome them in Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, and as of this week Manchester too! From the new year, we’ll be expanding to even more cities. 

Community Calling works with local councils and organisations in these areas to identify people that are digitally excluded. Some of the groups we’ve already gifted devices to (and will continue to support) include homeless men and women, survivors of domestic abuse, the elderly and refugee and asylum seekers.


We’d thought we’d introduce you to a couple of the wonderful women that Community Calling has supported to show you the impact that the project can and is having.


Emma is based in Rochdale, one of Greater Manchester’s most disadvantaged boroughs. She has been in and out of homelessness and struggled with substance abuse for 25 years. Now, she is 10-months clean and has been living in temporary housing for the last year provided by her community support group, Stepping Stones. She’s on the up, is now back in touch with her family and her new device will be the gateway she needs to keep her connected to them, as well as her support workers. Eventually, she hopes it will help her back into employment. When she opened the box with her new phone in it, she said:

“That’s fantastic, wow, I’m thrilled! This will be such a huge help in finding me a job”


Leanne lives with her partner and their son Alfie in a deprived area of North Manchester. She previously owned a phone, but it broke and she was unable to find the money to have it repaired. Having to home-school her son without access to the internet has presented new challenges for Leanne and her family. The device she has been gifted will be the turning point they need to get online for school support, and for her to buy Alfie new clothes. 

“I can now do my shopping online without having to go over to my friend’s house to use her phone! This is so exciting”


Do you have an old, unused smartphone lying around that you could gift to someone like Emma or Leanne? Maybe you upgraded over the Black Friday weekend, or your family has a growing stash of old phones in the kitchen drawer? If you do, we’d love to take it off your hands and give it a new lease of life with a new owner.

To gift a phone, you just need to do the following:

  1. Head to this page to check your phone qualifies and to see a step-by-step process for prepping your phone for gifting.
  2. After you’ve prepped your phone and entered your details, we’ll send you a freepost label.
  3. Package up your phone in the envelope we’ll send you and post it back to us, for free
  4. Our tech partner, Reconome, will get your device ready (by data wiping and sterilising it) before sending it out to its new home! 

We can’t wait to gift someone your old phone. You’ll not only be helping the growing issue of digital exclusion, but the growing e-waste issue too.


If you’d like to learn more about the work Hubbub does and want to follow along with Community Calling and our other campaigns, you can follow us on Instagram here and see more on our website here.