Harnessing the power of human connection: our new partnership with Samaritans

Elaine Carey, Chief Commercial Officer, Three UK

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been forced apart from so many of our closest friends and family, and only this week are we now seeing restrictions lift in England to allow people to reunite outdoors. This loss of contact has come at a time when human connection has never been more important.

Thankfully, the huge strides we have taken over the last few years to better connect the UK has meant that we’ve still been able to keep in touch with many of our loved ones. For me, this has been crucial. With my mum living over 150km away, being able to see and speak to her at a click of a button has been such a key part of our relationship over the last year.

However, not everyone is in this position. This has led to the number of adults reporting feelings of loneliness nearly doubling over the last year*. This is why charities such as Samaritans, which lend a kind ear, have been a lifeline for thousands of people.

Today, I’m proud to announce that Three UK will be partnering with Samaritans to connect 1 million people to emotional support over the next three years.

As one of the biggest telecoms operators in the country, Three UK plays a crucial role in connecting people, with a mission to deliver better connectivity, every day for every customer. This is the backbone of our new partnership with Samaritans, where we will use the strength of our network, technology, stores and employees – areas we are continually investing in – to expand Samaritans’ support services and improve people’s lives every single day.

This will extend the support that Samaritans already provides to people across the country. The dedication of Samaritans volunteers has meant that the charity has maintained their 24/7 service since the start of lockdown, with volunteers clocking up almost one million hours listening to those who are struggling to cope during the pandemic.

Over the next few months, Three UK and Samaritans will be outlining some of the measures that we have been working on to make it even easier for people to access this vital support.

This partnership marks our first big step to transform the way Three UK serves customers in a changed world, where connectivity has never been more important and where mobile phones have been a lifeline for staying connected to our friends and family.

I’m constantly inspired by Samaritans’ incredible work, not just this past year, but since the charity was founded. Through our shared belief in the power of human connection, I’m confident that together we can play a small part in delivering help to those who need it most.

* ONS loneliness statistic – 4.2 million adults reported being lonely in November 2020 compared to 2.6 million pre pandemic

* Figure includes calls to Samaritans’ helpline through all available channels including calls and emails

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