Last week, the BBC announced the suspension of its plan to close the Red Button Service. The BBC Red Button offers text-based news, sport results, alongside additional television programming. For people who live alone and without Internet connection, this 24 hour 7 day a week service, can be a valuable lifeline.
While the BBC initially decided to end the service to focus on ‘even better internet-based services’, many of the poorest and vulnerable people in society remain offline. A survey of our beneficiaries in 2011 showed that just 4% had access to the Internet.
One of our supporters lives alone and does not use computers; the BBC Red Button is vital for keeping her informed of national events. Another wrote to us highlighting just how crucial the service is for people who are not only isolated, but have poor digital skills and remain offline. According to the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index, 8% of the UK population haven’t used the Internet in the last 3 months, with 47% coming from low-income households and 80% aged over 50.
Tim Leech, WaveLength CEO said:
“WaveLength welcomes the BBC’s investigation into the impact of the closure of the BBC Red Button. While we support the role technology can play in bringing people together, we are ever more concerned that the digitalisation of services is continuing to exclude people. The closure of the Red Button service will leave some of the loneliest licence payers struggling to access information at a time that is most convenient for them. We look forward to feeding into the BBC’s investigations in due course.”
Over the coming months, WaveLength will be working with other partners to collect information on the service ahead of the BBC’s investigations.
If you would like to share your comments on the Red Button:
– e-mail [email protected] or
– call us on 01708 621101.
For 80 years, WaveLength has led the way with delivering change for lonely and isolated people. We give televisions, radios, and tablets to help fight loneliness.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from technology, take a look at the ‘Apply for Help’ section of our website.
We have also created a handy page of resources to help people who might be lonely. Visit our ‘Helpful Services’ for more.
We can’t continue our work without the generosity of our supporters.
Any donation, big or small, allows us to help those who reach out for help when they are at their lowest.
Please consider giving a one-off, or regular donation at the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/wavel. Thank you.