Millions of UK families currently live without internet access, meaning people are cut off from loved ones, locked out of life-changing services and held back through a lack of connection.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Trussell Trust and TV presenter/author Katie Piper to create Alfie’s Magic Phone – a one-of-a-kind infinite zoom children’s book about the effects of digital exclusion.
Illustrated by Tom McLaughlin, the interactive story follows Alfie and his cat Spud, who find a magic phone and go on an adventure to Dataville, where everyone is connected.
We hope you enjoy it, and if you want to help more families live in Dataville, you can make a donation below (but don’t forget to ask a parent or carer first!)
We’re helping people facing hardship stay connected.
The Trussell Trust is the UK’s biggest network of food banks. They see every day that people on the lowest incomes are facing impossible decisions about whether to put food on the table, keep warm or stay connected. This simply isn’t right.
Without access to a phone or data, people are locked out from life-changing services, held back from opportunities and cut off from loved ones.
Digital connection can be life-changing: a single call or text can connect someone to vital advice or emergency support. Five minutes online might mean successfully finding a home, submitting a job application, or knowing that a loved one is OK.
We’re working with the Trussell Trust and their network of more than 1400 food banks to help people who don’t have enough money for the essentials we all need in life. We’re doing that in two main ways:
More about the Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust believes we should all be free from hunger. Through their network of 1300 local food bank centres across the UK, the Trussell Trust provides practical support for people who don’t have enough money for the things we all need to get by. The Trussell Trust also believes that it’s not right that anyone needs a food bank in the first place – so they also work with communities across the UK to change the things that are leaving people without enough money to buy essentials.
Their network of food banks is supported by over 30,000 volunteers and around 12,000 churches, as well as many community groups, local businesses and schools. Together, they’re working to build a future where none of us need a food bank.
New annual figures from the Trussell Trust show that almost 3 million food parcels were given out in the past 12 months. This is the most parcels food banks in the network have ever distributed in a single year and represents a 37% increase compared to last year. Alarmingly more than a million of the parcels were provided for children. We continue to support the Trussell Trust to connect people facing hardship by donating data loaded SIMs to people referred to food banks.
If you need a little help…
We're sorry things are hard at the moment. Trussell Trust food banks work on a voucher referral system. You can find information on how to get support here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/.
We would also recommend that you contact your local food bank directly as they can let you know which agencies they work with in your area so that you can obtain a voucher for referral from your local food bank. You can find contact details for your nearest foodbank here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/.
Frequently asked questions
Tesco Mobile committed to connect 50,000 more people by 2025. The Trussell Trust, like us, believe that everyone should be able to afford life’s essentials and has the right to be connected. That’s why we are partnering with the Trussell Trust, to keep people facing hardship connected, one little help at a time.
The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity which supports the UK’s largest network of food banks while also working towards a future without the need for food banks. Together, the Trussell Trust is more than 1,400 local food bank centres across the UK, providing practical support for people who don’t have enough money for the things we all need in life. Their network of food banks is supported by almost 12,000 churches, as well as many community groups, local businesses, schools and over 30,000 dedicated volunteers.
Through the Little Helps Databank, Tesco Mobile will be donating data-loaded SIM cards to people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network. We will also be donating tablets, mobile Wi-Fi and SIM cards to food banks themselves, so that they can provide their services as efficiently as possible.
The Little Helps Databank is how we will donate SIM cards to people referred to food banks, to help them stay connected to loved ones and access vital support services. Tesco Mobile will provide the SIM cards and data, and this connectivity will be distributed to those who need it most via food banks in the Trussell Trust network. So like a food bank, but for data.
Connected food banks is the name of Tesco Mobile's scheme to offer devices and connectivity to food banks in the Trussell Trust network. We will be offering a tablet, mobile Wi-Fi device and SIM card to each food bank in the network, to help food banks provide their services as effectively as possible, providing them with the best practical tools to support their communities.
Digital inclusion is having access to, and being able to use, digital devices, such as computers, smart phones and the internet. In this age, digital connection is one of life’s essentials, because without it, people can be locked out of life-changing services, held back from opportunities and cut off from loved ones.
Connectivity is one of life’s essentials, like a loaf of bread. People need food banks when they don’t have enough money for life's essentials, whether that's food, heating or connectivity. Without being online and connected, we're locked out of life-changing services and support, held back from opportunities and cut off from loved ones.
In the second year running we have committed to distribute 2m GB of data through the Trussell Trust because connection is one of life’s essentials. Without it, people are locked out of life-changing services, held back from opportunities and cut off from loved ones. We’ve pledged a byte for a bite. So, for every item donated through the Tesco Food collection (30th November-2nd December 2023), we will give someone a free byte too. 2m is the number of equivalent meals Tesco is hoping to collect through this Tesco Winter Food Collection, so we've pledged 1GB for every equivalent meal.
We’re donating 1GB of data for every equivalent meal donated to the Tesco Winter Food Collection (30th November - 2nd December 2023), to encourage more food donations, at a time when the cost of living is driving more people to need food banks, and to raise awareness of the importance of connectivity as one of life's essentials.
‘Food donations’ is often expressed in the number of equivalent meals to help provide a sense of scale and a more relatable figure. Tesco uses a conversion factor of 420g of uncooked food = an average meal size, the equivalent to 1 meal, in line with the guidance from WRAP.
Typically, a 1GB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 11 hours, to send 16,000 emails without attachments or 300 with attachments, download 17 songs or watch 40 minutes of TV. Taken from Understanding data
The Tesco Winter Food Collection, held in partnership with the Trussell Trust & FareShare, encourages Tesco customers to donate essential items over a three-day period, with the help of volunteers across the UK. In 2023, the Winter Food Collection is taking place from 27th November to 2nd 2023 December.
To make your donation, just head to your local Tesco store, pick up an item or two from the list of your local food bank’s most needed items, and simply hand them to the volunteers or pop them in the collection point. Full details regarding the Tesco Food Collection can be found here.
The Trussell Trust has created a shopping list to help you choose which items to donate which will be available in stores during the collection. Check with your local food bank to see what is needed in your area specifically, and find other ways to support here.
In addition to the Tesco Food Collection events, you can drop off food item donations year round at the collection points available in all Tesco stores. You can also support the Trussell Trust by donating your Clubcard points here or supporting their Emergency Appeal here.
The Trussell Trust is celebrating an 11-year relationship with Tesco in their joint efforts to ensure our communities are free from hunger, and Tesco Mobile is partnering 2nd year running with the Trussell Trust to keep people facing hardship connected.
Food banks in the Trussell Trust network gave out a record 1.5 million emergency food parcels between April and September 2023. This is the highest number of parcels food banks ever distributed in this six-month period, as the relentless cost of living crisis drives a record number of people to food banks.
This is a 16% increase from the same period last year.
Just like food, connection is essential. 1 in 6 people referred to the food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network have no access to the internet.
That’s why we continue to work toward digitally connecting 50k people facing hardship by 2025 with our partner the Trussell Trust by donating data loaded SIMs to people referred to food banks.
The data will be distributed from January 2024 through SIM cards donated to local food banks, all registered charities or charitable organisations, which are part of the Trussell Trust network.
The data that we donate through the Trussell Trust food bank will be distributed by the food bank network, at their own discretion. The Little Helps Databank distribution will not be limited to any specific food banks in the Trussell Trust network.
Tesco Mobile is proud of our positive impact to date. Since launch in 2020, our digital inclusion work has helped over 60,000 people with devices and connectivity and over 4000 charities through the Reconnects programme, Crisis charity partnership, Little Helps scheme and the Trussell Trust Partnership.
In 2023, within our first year of partnership with the Trussell Trust, so far we’ve donated over 15,000 Sim cards with 6 months free data. We also provided over 450 tablets and mobile connectivity to help the food banks themselves provide their services as effectively as possible.
To date we have donated over £1.5m worth of devices and connectivity help people who can’t afford life’s essentials stay connected.
Terms and Conditions
The Trussell Trust Reg. Charity in England & Wales (1110522), Scotland (SC044246). For every meal donated to the Tesco winter Food Collection, we matched it with a free GB, up to 2 million GB of data. Data to be distributed from January 2023 through SIM cards to local food banks – a registered charity or charitable organisation which is part of the Trussell Trust network. Any donation via Clubcard is subject to the Clubcard scheme terms and conditions found at Terms and conditions.