Published:  02:39 PM, 30 May 2024

Free SIM cards and access to tablets for Tower Hamlets residents

Free SIM cards and access to tablets for Tower Hamlets residents

Tower Hamlets (LONDON): You can borrow a tablet for up to 12 weeks to get online

Residents who are struggling with the rising cost of living can stay connected and get a free SIM card pre-loaded with mobile data, minutes and texts.

Tower Hamlets Council has teamed up with the National Databank and Good Things Foundation scheme to offer residents access to vital services during the cost of living crisis.

The National Databank has revealed 2.5 million households struggle to afford the internet in the UK, and 1 in 14 households have no home iternet access at all. 

This often affects vulnerable people who are already experiencing multiple inequalities.

Our latest annual residents survey shows 3% of residents still don’t use the internet. Residents with a disability, aged 55 plus or not working are among the least likely to use the internet.

Some of the biggest barriers to getting online are lack of a device, language barriers, preference for face-to-face and lack of support.

Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:

“Being able to access the internet is essential to be digitally included. You need internet access to participate in our everyday life – to connect with opportunity, services and loved ones.

“Thanks to our partnership with the National Databank and Good Things Foundation we can offer free mobile data, minutes and texts to residents who need it.”

The Idea Store team will be managing the scheme and residents can drop into Idea Store Whitechapel or Idea Store Chrisp Street to pick up a free SIM card or visit National Databank ( for more details and eligibility.

Residents will also be able to pick up a tablet as the Idea Store service is piloting a tablet computer lending service over the next six months.

Residents who are digitally excluded can borrow one of a limited number of tablet computers from Idea Store Whitechapel for up to 12 weeks to get online and improve their digital skills.

Cllr Saied Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Resources, and the Cost-of-Living, said:  

“There are many reasons why some people are digitally excluded, and we know that getting online can make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

“Many residents don’t have access to a device which is why we are piloting the tablet scheme. The Idea Stores also offer free computer courses so you can learn how to use emails, search the web and much more.”

To find out more about the Tablet Lending scheme and eligibility visit Tablet Lending Service (

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