Reconnected: Marnie’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 Marnie, now 19, who lives about 5 miles outside of Edinburgh and received her 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.


Marnie, tell us about your background? 

I’ve always been quite sensitive, I pick up on things, because of my dad really. I didn’t know he had mental health issues until I was a bit older but I remember growing up, being stressed out a LOT. I still get that horrible feeling in my stomach just thinking back to it to be honest. It was not a happy home life.

When I was younger I definitely cut myself off; at school, from other people, from my family. I didn’t know how to deal with things but didn’t want to be noticed either. I spent a lot of time in my room, just staring at the wall, not feeling anything or maybe I felt everything, I don’t know.

How did you find out about the Reconnected programme? 

Chris really. Mum was homeschooling me through lockdown as that’s what most people had to do. After a while of that, just watching my dad most days having some trouble or issue that my mum had to deal with, was making me really bad. The school got involved, I guess some of the teachers noticed. To be honest though they were really nice when I look back, like I did feel they wanted to help. Our family didn’t have much, everything was broken, the meter kept running out, mum said she couldn’t afford for us to get anything.

School got me a social worker which at first I didn’t want; I didn’t want to stand out anymore but she was OK actually. She put me in touch with Chris, and he really changed things for me, like I’m moving on with stuff now.

He told me about Reconnected and that there was some help out there. He thought it was the right way to go as I was pretty much cut off from the outside world and my future wasn’t going to be the best it could be if I didn’t get some support now. I never had a phone before and it just felt like it couldn’t be real when he told me about that programme.

How has having a device changed things in your life? 

I have a part-time job which gets me out the house. Stuff like checking the bus times or seeing what else is out there for a job. I realised I like to know things and when I’ve got a question in my head, I can search for an answer and it’s amazing how I can find stuff out and learn. It makes me feel relaxed.

What is next for you? 

I’ve started to get involved more in some things, I realised the stuff I’m really interested and actually good at too. At People Know How, there’s a lot of groups about different things that you can get involved in. One of the girls asked me if I wanted to go to a group with her! I wouldn’t have said yes three years ago. We are even thinking of getting a housing place together with a few of us. I met so many people but better than that, I can be in touch with them and do things together with them. I feel like we really get each other.

Any advice you may have for others in the same situation? 

Sometimes you feel like what you’ve got is it and you need someone to tell you that there could be more. Everything seems black. Even if you tell one person something that’s on your mind, they might know someone who can help.


A huge thanks to Marnie for sharing her story; it really does show what a difference one phone can make. 
* we’ve used an alias for Marnie and Chris to protect their 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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