As part of the continuation of this newspaper’s Jersey Together campaign, which aimed to tackle loneliness over the festive period, JT is offering 2G smartphones to Islanders who do not have a mobile phone and would like to keep in touch with friends or family.
The basic phones are older models and those who wish to take up the offer will also receive a free SIM card and a small amount of credit to get them started.
Jersey Citizens Advice and the Grace Trust have agreed to distribute the phones on behalf of JT and have asked those who are interested to get in contact with them.
JT has confirmed that it already has the phones in stock and they are available to distribute immediately.
‘We saw the JEP’s Jersey Together campaign and thought it was a brilliant idea at this time of year, when some people can feel alone and excluded,’ a spokeswoman for JT’s customer service team said.
‘As a communications business, we realised we are in a really good position to do something to help, so decided to make available a stock of basic smart phones which might no longer be the latest device, but still work very well for keeping people connected.
‘We’re delighted to offer those for free, along with a free no-contract SIM card and £3 of credit so Islanders, who wouldn’t normally be able to do so, can stay in touch with friends or family.’
Citizens Advice chief executive Malcolm Ferey described it as a ‘fantastic project’ that had the potential to make a real difference to people.
‘Loneliness and isolation are problems in Jersey so what a great way to help people reach out and realise, by going on social media like Facebook and Twitter, that there are people out there willing to help and support them,’ he said.
‘Digital technology is so important these days for socialising, on top of going out to meet people, but not everyone can afford it. This belated Christmas present is a great gift.’
Gerry Padden, manager of the Grace Trust, said that the charity, which runs a food bank, would work to ensure that the phones were distributed to those in the most need.
‘Some of our clients are very poor. We want to make sure that the phones get to the people who genuinely need them and are not just a plaything, which will be a challenge,’ he said.
‘Maybe it will be more for the mature people, who do not have phones. Teaching older people to use the technology could also be a challenge. But we are very happy to take this on.’
Jersey Together was launched by the JEP last month and asked readers to find ways to help each other to ensure nobody is left lonely or in need of support for any reason. Anyone in crisis was also urged to seek immediate help. It was backed by the Chief Minister, the Dean, Citzens Advice, Age Concern and mental-health campaigner Andy Le Seelleur.
Restaurants and hotels donated tables to those in need as part of the campaign, while the Co-op launched a calling card so that neighbours could introduce themselves to one another and offer help where it may be required. Those forms will continue to be available from Co-op shops, parish halls, the JEP office at Five Oaks and branches of Jersey Post.
- If you are interested in one of the handsets being provided by JT please contact either Citizens Advice on freephone 0800 735 0249 or email email@example.com, or alternatively the Grace Trust on 631667 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Details of the handset on offer can be found at ekit.com/ekit/MobileInfo/Handset/jtsmart2.