We’ve partnered up with BT to help deliver their Digital Voice programme, connecting neighbours and communities across England and Wales.

BT are working to inform those who are still using an analogue home landline that this signal will be switched off in January 2027. Their customers will need to upgrade to a digital hub which can be connected to a digital connection. This step may not mean having to buy a new handset if it is compatible with a digital socket, but it will entail having to have a digital hub installed into the property.

The good news is that the digital upgrade itself will not cost BT customers more, and that over 90% of current handsets are compatible. BT are also keen to point out that costs going forward will not be more than already charged.

The digital phoneline will screen out a huge percentage of unwanted calls from scammers and salespeople, and will deliver clearer sound through the upgraded technology.

Neighbourhood Watch Network was approached by BT in summer 2023 to help with this project, and we found that there were a number of synergies which would assist them. Further discussions revealed that their budget allowed for us to fund a programme of activity in support of this.

How we will be helping spread the message:

  • Using our network of Associations, schemes and groups across the country to spread the word about the switchover to these customers, and to show them the way to keep their lines open
  • Face-to-face sessions with trusted local figures in their communities from Neighbourhood Watch
  • The opportunity for customers to ask questions in a non-judgmental atmosphere with tangible solutions on hand and printed material available to take home

We have already delivered a funded ‘pilot’ project in Cumbria using Neighbourhood Watch volunteers to deliver open sessions at six rural venues across Cumbria. The pilot rolled out three sessions before Christmas 2023 and three early in the new year. There were some really useful learnings from these events and we will incorporate this into future activity.

Following this success, it was agreed that we would move forward to a wider project offering multiple local sessions across five regions (South East, South West, East of England, Wales and the North West).

Neighbourhood Watch Network will deliver a programme of approximately 50 local events per region, provided by trained volunteers.

To support this, a project team have been recruited – a Project Manager and a Volunteer Coordinator for each of the five areas. The programme will run for roughly a year.

The project is being run by the following members of staff:

Events for each area can be accessed via the links in the menu opposite