VIRGIN Media O2 has launched a pilot scheme to help facilitate foodbank donations, with Bournemouth Foodbank and charity giving platform, Neighbourly.

The voluntary scheme will see a team of local Virgin Media technicians collect food, toiletries and devices from customers who would like to contribute, with donations being delivered directly to Bournemouth Foodbank.

As part of the pilot, Virgin Media customers in Bournemouth who have an installation booked will be notified of the initiative via an SMS which will provide guidance on items that can be donated.

The scheme has been carefully designed to not interfere with the service or experience a customer receives, but will provide a simple and convenient way for people to donate to their local foodbank if they wish to and are able to.

Through the initiative, customers will also have the option to donate old tech as part of Virgin Media O2’s on-going Community Calling scheme, which was created to tackle digital exclusion by rehoming devices to people across the country who face digital isolation.

To date, the scheme has rehomed more than 10,000 smartphones, a milestone achieved thanks to the generosity of members of the public and businesses who have donated devices.

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “We are committed to playing an active role in supporting the communities we serve, and we hope this pilot has a genuine impact on the Bournemouth Foodbank and the people it supports.

"I am so proud of our technicians who have volunteered their time to take part and support the community.

"If every customer we visit on a weekly basis in Bournemouth donated just one item of food, it could help feed more than 400 additional people over the course of our trial.”

Millie Earl, Fundraising Coordinator, Bournemouth Foodbank said: “At Bournemouth Foodbank we are currently providing food and essentials to over a thousand people a month, a third of which are children.

"This is nearly double the number of people we were helping this time last year. As the price of food has gone up, donations to the Foodbank have gone down.

“That’s why we’re really pleased to be part of the Virgin Media O2 scheme to help us plug the gap and continue providing emergency food parcels to the poorest and most vulnerable people in our community.”