InLinkUK from BT boosts UK Charities
One-touch contact on digital street units given to four charities: Childline, End Youth Homelessness, Runaway Helpline and Samaritans InLinkUK from BT, the service being rolled out across the UK offering free ultrafast Wi-Fi, phone calls and mobile charging, is joining forces with four charities to offer one-touch free lifelines on the street. InLinks, the ultramodern digital street units offering the new service, will feature four charities on their tablet touchscreens: Childline, End Youth Homelessness, Runaway Helpline and Samaritans. Anyone who wants to contact one of the charities, for information or support, can connect to them by phone just by touching the appropriate icon. InLinks’ range of free services include one gigabit Wi-Fi, the UK’s fastest free public Wi-Fi service, calls to UK landlines and mobiles, fast mobile charging and digital information including maps, directions, council services and the BT Phone Book. The nationwide rollout has so far seen more than 145 InLinks installed in eight London boroughs, as well as in Leeds city centre, with hundreds more to be installed across the UK. The charities appearing on the InLinks are: Childline, started by Esther Rantzen in 1986, which is a free, private and confidential service that can help young people with everything from abuse and bullying to exam stress and relationships. End Youth Homelessness, a UK-wide network of local charities that have joined forces to tackle youth homelessness. Member charities, including Centrepoint, house and support more than 26,000 young people facing homelessness. Runaway Helpline, which is run by the UK charity Missing People and offers help and support to people who are thinking about running away, have already run away, or have been away and come back. Samaritans, whose mission is that fewer people die by suicide, and its 20,000 volunteers are available anytime, via phone, email or face to face at 201 branches in the UK and Ireland. In 2017 Samaritans volunteers dealt with 5.7 million requests for help. Nick Hale, managing director Ventures, said: “With the one-touch icons on InLinks, we saw an amazing opportunity, in a small way, to help these four charities who make such a huge difference to so many people’s lives. The InLinks’ free services,such as ultrafast Wi-Fi and phone calls, have proved a big hit, but this underlines our commitment that InLinks should play a positive role in local communities just as our much-loved red phone box did in the 20th century.” Matt Bird, general manager, InLinkUK, said: “When we first started this project, we said that we wanted to make a difference in the communities we operate in. Connectivity is a big part of that and one of the reasons we offer ultrafast Wi-Fi and phone calls for free. By working with these key charities to develop the new charity tile on the tablets, accessible to anyone in need; we are continuing to use our InLink product to connect communities.” Grania Hyde-Smith, national services communications manager for Childline, said: “We’re delighted to be on InLinks. At Childline we’re always looking at new ways to increase our reach and help as many young people as we possibly can. InLinks will help us to reach and support even more young people with issues they might need to talk to us about, such as bullying, mental health issues and abuse, so we’re very grateful to BT for supporting this venture.” Paul McDonald, Samaritans director of external affairs, said: “Samaritans is delighted to be involved in this innovative project. We want to make it easier for people who are struggling to contact our volunteers, and we are grateful to BT for launching InLinkUK, which we hope will allow our service to reach more people.” Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at Centrepoint, said: “Thousands of young people find themselves homeless each year, with no idea where to turn for help. Every moment they are alone and in limbo, they’re at risk of harm. That’s why we’re so grateful that the End Youth Homelessness Centrepoint Helpline will be featured on the tablet of the InLinks. The sooner we hear from young people at a time of crisis, the sooner we can provide the tailored advice they need to find a safe place to stay and on-going support.” Paul Joseph, head of helplines, Missing People, said: “For many years children who have run away have used BT phone boxes to contact us for help, support and advice, at any time of the day, for free. It’s great that the InLinks keep this service open to people who need our help, not just by allowing them to make free calls, but also to access information and with the Wi-Fi access to be able to email or chat with us on their own phones or devices. It’s comforting to know that there is a visible and reliable place in their local area that they can use to access our help.” Since the first InLink was installed in June last year, more than 66,000 people have subscribed to Wi-Fi, using enough data to download the equivalent of almost nine million songs, more than 419,000 free calls have been made and there have been more than 356,000 sessions on the tablet. InLinkUK from BT is a partnership between BT and tech start up InLinkUK. InLinks are currently available in Camden, Southwark, Islington, Hackney, Lambeth, Wandsworth and Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith & Fulham in London and Leeds city centre.