Tesco partners Crisis for digital connectivity campaign

Tesco Mobile and Crisis have launched a new campaign which aims to highlight the importance of digital connection in helping support the increasing number of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

According to figures from Crisis, following the Universal Credit uplift, the renter’s evictions ban in many parts of the country, and the furlough scheme coming to an end, 94 per cent of local authorities in England expect to see a hike in newly unemployed people made homeless.

“For many of us, coming out of lockdown represents a crisis finally easing,” said Tom Denyard, chief executive of Tesco Mobile. “But, as the impact of the pandemic unravels and government support winds down, many families and individuals face a frightening reality.”

Denyard added: “Today more than ever, digital connection is providing access to vital support and tools. In partnership with Crisis, we want to highlight the importance of digital connection and its important role in helping to end homelessness.”

New research released from Tesco Mobile, which surveyed 2000 people across the UK, found that 40 per cent of Brits say they are uncertain about the future once current government support ends.

Meanwhile, almost half - 45 per cent - of those who received government support during the pandemic believe they will struggle financially.

Based on analysis of Crisis’ internal data, nearly 91 per cent of the support Crisis provided since the start of lockdown was delivered remotely. Doctors’ appointments, universal credit, and job applications have similarly moved predominantly online.

While 82 per cent of those surveyed believe that having access to the internet and/or mobile phone is now essential to everyday life, one in four (23 per cent) struggled to pay for essential things like food, council tax or Wi-Fi / phone bills during the pandemic.

As part of the new two-year campaign, celebrities including Scott Mills, Dr Zoe Williams, Denise Welch and Rebecca Adlington, have been documenting going without their phones or internet access to tackle everyday tasks. Their experience highlights just how vital having a digital connection is in preventing or helping someone on a path out of homelessness.

Commenting on the difficulty she faced when trying to transfer money without any form of digital connection, Denise Welch said: “The experience has been an eye opener for me, and it has really highlighted how having a digital connection is vital to helping those on path out of homelessness. We all take our digital devices for granted, me included, and without them - I felt lost.”

The public is also being encouraged to use a special QR code that’s been created to raise awareness of the need for digital connection in the post-pandemic world. Research revealed that over a third of people have needed to use a QR code to access the NHS Trace and Trace app and 30 per cent to order food and drink.

Tesco Mobile is hoping people will share the QR code, which links directly to Crisis, as a practical demonstration of how digital connection, a phone and data, can help people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness to access support and essential services, and help end homelessness for good.

“The last 18 months have not only shown us the importance of having somewhere safe and secure to call home, but they’ve laid bare how vital staying connected to others and being able to access services and support are to people facing homelessness,” said Jon Sparkes, chief executive, Crisis. “Throughout the pandemic, our teams across the country have worked tirelessly to make sure that we continue to be there for the people that need us, providing vital housing, employment and wellbeing support.”

Sparkes added: “As we look ahead, we must build on this improved digital connectivity. Today’s figures show that as a nation we’re increasingly reliant on our phones and the internet, and this technology allows us to play an active part in our communities. We know we can end homelessness for good, and digital connection has a crucial part to play in helping us do this.”

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