Virgin Media O2 rolls out staff volunteering buddy programme to tackle loneliness

Virgin Media O2 disabled Media and telecommunications organisation Virgin Media O2 has launched a 12-month volunteering programme to help tackle chronic loneliness experienced by disabled people.

Through a partnership with disability charity Sense, Virgin Media O2’s 15,000 employees have been invited to take part in a virtual buddying service to support those who are at risk of isolation and loneliness. The service matches a volunteer with a disabled person, based on their shared interests, to carry out activities together online, such as video calls, regular catch-ups, virtual drinks or dinner together, online gaming or TV watch-alongs.

Virgin Media O2 employees can use their five annual paid volunteering days to take part in the service and commit at least one hour per week for six months to keep in touch with someone who is disabled.

The initiative forms part of the organisation’s sustainability strategy, which is known as the Better Connections Plan. It is also part of its goal to support one million people in communities across the UK by the end of 2025 through its Take Five employee volunteering programme. Since 2022, more than 225,000 people have been supported by its employees through voluntary initiatives.

Dana Haidan, chief sustainability officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We know how vital connections and conversations are, especially for disabled people who are experiencing isolation and loneliness. That’s why we’re proudly joining forces with Sense and are extending our Take Five programme to include the charity’s Virtual Buddying Service, so our employees can use their paid volunteering time to create meaningful and lasting friendships with disabled people.”