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Islanders urged to ask for a free phone

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VULNERABLE Islanders are being urged to contact Citizens Advice or the Grace Trust if they feel they would benefit from owning one of the 1,000 free smartphones being offered by JT through a JEP campaign.

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Over the festive period, the telecoms company announced it was offering older model 2G smartphones to needy Islanders to help them stay in contact with relatives as part of the JEP’s Jersey Together Christmas campaign.

JT has now earmarked 1,000 smartphones for the project, which will be given out – together with £3 of free credit – to the successful applicants.

Two Jersey charities – Citizens Advice and the Grace Trust – have agreed to hand out the phones to their clients and have so far each been issued 100 handsets.

Citizens Advice chief executive Malcolm Ferey said that the reaction to the initiative had been ‘very positive’, with dozens of handsets already having been distributed following the launch last Thursday.

‘We had about 35 sets collected in the first day and a half which is great, and we are trying to make as many people as possible aware of this,’ he said.

‘People think that it is very generous of JT to give people the opportunity to keep in contact with friends and relatives by offering them a free smartphone.

‘For some people it’s the first time that they will have owned a smart phone and this is opening up the digital world for them. For others their current smartphone is past it and this will help tide them over until they can afford a new one.’

He added: ‘Most of the people who have collected the phones have been elderly and are now realising it is a great way to keep in touch with people.

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‘Also people are collecting them for elderly relatives, which is fine, because it is a good way to keep in contact in case anything happens to them.

‘But other vulnerable people are collecting the phones too, so it is across the spectrum. We want people to know that it is not just for the elderly.’

Gerry Padden, manager of the Grace Trust, which runs a food bank, said that eight people had enquired about the phones with them so far.

‘They are all elderly people. These phones are really good for them in an emergency, in case, let’s say, they fall over and need to call an ambulance or the police,’ he said.

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‘Hopefully once word of mouth gets around more and more, people will be interested.’

Jersey Together was launched by the JEP last month and asked readers to find ways to help each other to ensure nobody was left lonely or in need of support for any reason.

If you are interested in one of the handsets please contact either Citizens Advice on freephone 0800 735 0249 or email advice@cab.org.je, or alternatively the Grace Trust on 631667 or by emailing info@gracetrust.com.

Details of the handset on offer can be found at ekit.com/ekit/MobileInfo/Handset/jtsmart2.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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