Tesco Mobile and Crisis partnership

Providing people with the digital connection and devices they need to leave homelessness behind.

Tesco Mobile and Crisis are working together to reconnect people with the essential services and support they need to leave homelessness behind.

Why did we partner?

The Crisis partnership with Tesco Mobile is founded on a truth that became alarmingly apparent over the course of the pandemic: we all rely on our connection with others in order to survive.

People experiencing homelessness are no exception to this universal fact, and many frontline services in the homelessness sector entered the first national lockdown in desperate need of devices and data to enable them to continue supporting their clients.

Early on, Tesco Mobile identified their role in ensuring that everyone, however marginalised, had the means of staying connected throughout the pandemic, and in the summer of 2020 they approached us to form their first national charity partnership. Our partnership is a cornerstone of Tesco Mobile Reconnects, which between now and 2023 will see Tesco Mobile commit to giving over £2.4 million worth of phones, devices and connectivity to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people reconnect with society.


What’s happened so far?

Tesco Mobile has supported Crisis to help more people experiencing homelessness to reconnect with society by providing them with devices and connectivity. To date, Tesco Mobile has made an incredible donation of £700,000 to Crisis Skylight members across England, Scotland and Wales, including:

  • 1,200 phones
  • 450 tablets
  • 250 laptops
  • £350,000 in data, in the form
    of ‘Rocketpack’ SIM cards

Through the partnership, Crisis and Tesco Mobile are also working together to 
educate and empower the public through a series of fundraising initiatives.

823 unwanted or old phones were donated to Tesco Mobile by staff and customers across Great Britain, raising over £1,300 of additional funds in support Crisis’ work.

Tesco Mobile customers and staff raised an additional £37,600 to help provide devices and connectivity for Crisis’ Christmas guests in December 2020 through the Christmas (SIM) card campaign. This was match-funded by Tesco Mobile to reach an incredible total donation of over £75,200.

You can read our impact report in full here.



Digital connection has been absolutely vital in enabling members to access Crisis services and support throughout the pandemic, as almost all (91%) of our support was provided digitally over the last year.

The devices and connectivity packs provided by Tesco Mobile have been essential in ensuring that our staff and members can continue to work together.

To date, 1,358 devices and connectivity packs have been distributed to 921 of our members across Great Britain, of which:

  • 52 have secured employment
  • 179 have had their homelessness sustainably ended (they are housed, and no longer at risk of homelessness)
  • 177 have seen improvements in their social networks
  • 219 have secured stable accommodation
  • 212 have improved their health and wellbeing

In addition, the £75,200 raised through the Christmas (SIM) card campaign enabled us to provide devices and connectivity for 385 of our Christmas guests in December 2020 so that they could participate in the virtual advice sessions and entertainment on offer throughout the project.

In 2021, a study by Tesco Mobile revealed that over a third of Brits felt uncertain about the future once government support such as its furlough scheme, the Universal credit uplift, and the renter’s evictions ban, came to an end.

With research from Tesco Mobile revealing that 82% of Brits believe that having access to the internet and/or mobile phone is now essential to everyday life, it’s clear that digital connection is more of a lifeline than ever before for those seeking support for homelessness.

Almost all (91%) of the support that Crisis has provided since the start of lockdown has been online, in the same way that doctors’ appointments, universal credit and job applications have also moved online.

This is why we believe that there’s never been a more important time to close the digital divide faced by people experiencing homelessness.

Anniversary campaign

To help explain why, in August 2021 we called upon celebrities including Scott Mills, Dr Zoe Williams, Denise Welch and Rebecca Adlington, who documented going without their phones or internet access to tackle everyday tasks. Their experience highlighted just how vital having a digital connection is in preventing or helping someone on a path out of homelessness.

A special QR code was created to raise awareness of the need for digital connection in the post-pandemic world. It served as a practical demonstration of how digital connection, a phone and data, can help people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness to access support and essential services, and help end homelessness for good.

In partnership with Tesco Mobile, we are continuing to help reconnect as many people as possible as part of our mission to end homelessness once and for all. Read the annual report on our partnership here. 

I work for a charity

If you are a charity or non-profit organisation in need of devices and data for the people you support, you can write to tescomobile.littlehelps@tesco.com to request these.

I am an individual experiencing homelessness

I’ve seen someone sleeping rough – what should I do?

Crisis doesn’t provide emergency accommodation, so if you see someone rough sleeping, we advise the following:

  • For England and Wales, contact StreetLink. They will try to locate people who are rough sleeping and will arrange for an ‘outreach’ worker to come and find them and refer them to local services in England and Wales. You can do this on StreetLink’s website, the app, or by calling 0300 500 0914. Always give specific details about the individual and any risk factors (eg under 25; female; looks unwell; lacks bedding).
  • For Scotland, contact the Simon Community.
  • In an emergency, where there is an immediate risk of significant harm, you should call 999. If you are seriously concerned about an individual but there is no immediate risk, you can call 101 and ask police to attend to undertake a welfare check. This may lead to enforcement measures being used.

It is a personal choice whether you want to give someone a little bit of change. People experiencing homelessness often tell us that isolation, and that feeling of being invisible, is one of the harshest parts of being on the street.

Stopping for a chat with someone who is begging or rough sleeping may be the only contact they have that day. If you feel like you want to give someone change for a cup of tea or something to eat, then make the decision that feels right to you. You should always ask the person what they want to eat or drink before purchasing something, to make sure it’s right for them.

If you do decide to give some money, you should always consider whether this is the most effective means of supporting this individual, and whether there are other ways you can support them instead of, or as well as, giving cash (such as giving them information).

I think I, or someone I know, might be at risk of homelessness

If you are worried about someone’s housing situation, direct them towards Shelter's free Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444. It is open from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on weekends. There is also a lot of information about housing on Shelter England's website and on Shelter Scotland's website.

You may need another type of help from a specialist organisation. We have listed some here for you:

  • Whatever you're going through, The Samaritans can offer emotional support. Their free and confidential helpline is always open on 116 123.
  • The Money Advice Service gives free and impartial advice on debt and benefits.
  • Citizens Advice can help with practical matters such as rights and the law, debt, housing, and benefits. There are local centres in most towns and cities. 
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence. The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day on 0800 2000 247.
  • Men experiencing domestic violence can contact the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
  • Migrant Help UK provides confidential and impartial advice and guidance to adult asylum seekers and their dependants throughout the UK in many different languages. Call 0808 8010 503 (free from BT and the seven major mobile networks).
  • Missing People is there for people who run away and go missing in the UK. Their free and confidential helpline is open 24 hours a day on 116 000.
  • If you are under 25, The Mix run a free helpline (0808 808 4994) which is open 11am-11pm every day. Centrepoint's helpline on 0808 800 0661 is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. You can also get advice on Centrepoint's website.