Reconnected: John’s story 

Our tagline for Reconnected: Let go of your old phone and let someone else love it, could not be more apt.

This programme is particularly important to us when we see how much it is helping other people. It’s also a key goal of our Sustainability strategy to ensure that people across the country can engage in the digital economy; to reduce the digital divide and promote digital inclusion.

We talked to John who lives in Edinburgh and received his handset from the People Know How charity through our partner Good Things Foundation.

We asked her a little bit about her life and how Reconnected has supported her. Due to her anxiety levels, she asked for her Personal Development Worker Chris to join and support her for this interview.

John, tell us a bit about your background  

I spent a fair few years in the military, which was good but when I left, but things didn’t fall into place like I thought they would… I’m a proud person and asking for help was never my strong point. I never thought I’d end up homeless and when I did, I lost a lot of hope about the future.

How you find out about Reconnect? 

Getting work without a phone is harder than you think. It puts people off when they don’t have an email or a number to call you on and I was starting to get anxious about even having those conversations and that put me off going for interviews or job searching. It was a massive barrier to a lot of things. At one of my check ins at the job centre, we were talking through options of how I could move forward. They told me about Connecting Scotland, and we had a good chat about what my options were. That’s how I found out about Reconnect at People Know How, a service that helps people get digital skills, devices and connectivity. I had no idea something like that even existed.

How did having a phone help improve your day–to-day life? 

Getting that phone changed so much for me. I had options, a number, I could start moving things forward, didn’t have to rely on going to the library to search for jobs, could just do it all from my phone. Checking on job applications or being able to talk to my support worker when I needed to, was really good.

How are you doing now? 

I’m in a much better place. Just even being able to chat to my family has made things a lot better for me, building back up some connections. I’ve also got involved in some of the digital groups that the charity I got the phone from have, so now I’ve started to get a bit more sociable and involved in things.

What advice would you give to others in your position? 

Looking back, my confidence was low but my pride was high, and it wasn’t easy to ask for help. I’d resigned myself to thinking I’d never get anywhere – I was surprised about the help and support out there actually, when I did finally ask. So, I’d say to anyone in that situation you probably do have to go through things in your own head, first but getting a phone has given me so much more freedom now.

A huge thanks to John for sharing his story; it really does show what a difference one phone can make.  

*We’ve used an alias for John to protect his anonymity.

Want to donate your old phone to help someone like Marnie? 

Head over to our Reconnected page and fill in the form to request a prepaid pack. Make sure you remove your data before you send it to us, then just pop it in the post.

Genuine Solutions are our technology partner for Reconnected and their multi award-winning proven processes ensure that each device donated, is fully tested and securely data-wiped ready for reuse by the beneficiary. Their systems provide a full audit trail from collection of devices from personal/corporate donors, through to the beneficiary. They are one of the most accredited companies in this sector and their commitment to excellence gives clients peace of mind. They firmly believe that reuse is the best form of recycling and their goal is 100% reuse and zero landfill.

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