Free Mobile Data and SIM Cards and Free Digital Skills Training at Libraries

Awen Cultural Trust is helping to tackle the data poverty crisis within Bridgend county borough, by
distributing free mobile data and SIM cards to people who need them, and offering free digital skills
training at its libraries.
This initiative is supported by the National Databank, which has been set up by Virgin Media 02, Good
Things Foundation and other digital inclusion experts including Community Organisers, Operation
Wifi, Hubbub and Nominet. They are aiming to help over 200,000 people across the UK get connected
by the end of 2023.
Data poverty is the term used to describe ‘individuals, households or communities who cannot afford
sufficient, private and secure mobile or broadband data to meet their essential needs’ (Nesta, 2021).
A 2022 study by the Wales Centre for Public Policy into poverty and social exclusion in Wales reported
that causes of data poverty include: disadvantage barriers to services; poor connectivity; low income;
larger families generating high data needs; and a lack of financial and digital literacy.
Colleagues at Awen Libraries such as Sarn, which is managed in partnership with St Brides Minor
Community Council and Bridgend County Borough Council, will distribute up to 50 free SIM cards with
unlimited data each month to customers, no means testing required. They will also provide free one-
to-one digital assistance on everything from printing, setting up email accounts and job searches, to
booking appointments online, paying bills and downloading apps.

See the full press release here

Below is a photo of the event which was attended by new Chair of Council, Councillor Mark John