Helping in the fight against digital poverty

2 March 2021

2 min read

One thing the pandemic has highlighted is the scale of digital poverty among young people in the UK. According to the Office for Students, 18% of university and college students have been impacted by a lack of access to a computer, laptop or tablet. In some schools the situation is even worse, with 60% to 70% of children in some disadvantaged areas not having access to a laptop. It’s a frightening statistic considering that school closures have turned access to technology into an educational necessity rather than a luxury.

In addition, youth homelessness charity Centrepoint have told us about the stark isolation experienced by the young people they work with when they don't have access to mobile phones and internet connections.

Co-operative Bank colleagues in our Digital Bees group and members of Futures, our early careers colleague inclusion network, have teamed up with The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF). They have found a practical way for all colleagues to help by donating their old (but still functional) tech, which will help make a real difference to young people facing digital poverty.

What will happen to the kit?

Laptops are being collected by The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people. Donated kit will be wiped, loaded with free-to-access software and then redistributed to young people in need across the UK.

Tablets and mobiles will be donated to Centrepoint, who will strip down the devices and put in a new SIM card before passing them on to young people impacted by homelessness.

How can you help?

Your old tablet, mobile phone or laptop could be the lifeline a young person needs. So if you have a laptop that is still in working order and you'd be happy to donate it, please visit and find out more about how you too can help the fight against digital poverty.

Once the current lockdown restrictions come to an end we will be able to advise further on how tablets and mobile phones can be donated too. Please keep an eye out for updates on this via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More about The Social Mobility Foundation

The Co-operative Bank has supported the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) charity for the past four years through career events, work experience placements and mentoring. This relationship was strengthened in July 2020 when we became a founding member of the Social Mobility Employer Coalition, which brings together employers from across the country to create opportunities that give young people access to the workplace.

More about Centrepoint

Centrepoint is the UK's leading youth homelessness charity. They aim to help young people move on from homelessness and build a future they can believe in by providing accommodation, health support and life skills. The Co-operative Bank has partnered with Centrepoint since 2017, raising £1.7m to date which has given thousands of vulnerable young people access to the charity's vital support.

Not found what you're looking for?

Contact our support team