Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Top Tips for collecting old phones

You want an iPad for your child, who has autism, or special needs, or none.  You've registered with the Hearts and Minds charity to collect old mobile phones to exchange for an iPad.  So where to start? 

The official launch of the scheme was at the end of May, and many of the families who've got their iPads since then have been happy to share their top tips for collecting phones.  This is what worked for them:

Hints and tips from parents

1. Facebook - from pestering friends and family, to setting up and promoting a dedicated Facebook page and/or Facebook event.  Post updates on the campaign and perhaps photos of donated phones with a thank you message for the donor. 

2. Twitter - 'phenomenal' is how one Mum described the twitter response to her request for phones.

3. Workplace - colleagues and customers have supported some families. 

4. School - one Mum says she is now known as "the crazy lady who wants old mobiles!" But it worked..

5. Local businesses, shops, community centres and pubs - ask if they will put up posters or a collection box for you.  Some businesses may have collections of employees' old contract phones.

6. Media - Newspapers and radio stations love heart-warming stories, and several have run articles and interviews with local families about their child and publicising their need for old phones.

Hearts and Minds can also help with securing media coverage: Just contact for more details.

7. Local buy/sell/giveaway sites - families found that people tend to be very generous in support of a good cause.

8. Swap phones for...fresh chicken eggs, home-baked fairy cakes, or anything else that would incentivise your friends, family, neighbours and other local people.

9. Swap things on Facebook by advertising items your family no longer needs on the swap/for sale sites in return for any old or broken phones.

10. Local small phone shops may have old or damaged phones that they don't need.

11. Local councils recycle phones so see if they will donate to you instead.

12. Ask at your local Church and they may support your campaign.

13. Make sure people know why you want the phones and how your child will benefit.  Hearts and Minds has posters that can be emailed to you.

14. From a Mum in Ireland:

"I put gift wrapped boxes with my child's picture and details of the recycling scheme in local schools and shops, got friends that worked on factory floors to bring in buckets with my child's face on them, I went to lost & found in (police) stations, and bus & train stations, I got friends to share on FB, I went to Chinese mobile phone shops & repair shops, and got unusable unfixable phones from them too.... Everybody has at least one or two old phones ones hanging around the back of a drawer, I just badgered everybody until I got what I needed!"

And finally...

Make sure that people know that about the big prize:


More about the Hearts and Minds charity here:

Twitter: @handmchallenge  

Saturday, 28 July 2012

What sort of mobile phones can be recycled and other FAQs

Hundreds of families are now collecting old mobile phones to get an iPad for their child from Hearts and Minds, and the questions are rolling in too:

1. What sort of mobile phones can be recycled?

Your total should consist mainly of recent phones - from the last 10 years - though a few older phones like this can be included:

The charity will accept up to 10 phones that may be:
...over 10 years old.
...missing parts (except the battery cover)

Phones less than 3 years old with broken screens will also be accepted.

2. Do the phones need to have batteries in them?

Yes they do.

3. Do you take phones from overseas?

Yes.  If they're being posted make sure that the ends of the batteries are sealed with sellotape and packed separately from the phones.

4. Do you take phones from America?

American phones operate on a different band, so only a few can be accepted, more if they are GSM phones rather than CDMA.

5. We have more phones than we need, how can we help other kids?

Either give them to another family locally or send them directly to Hearts and Minds where they will go towards fundraising for the school for children with autism.

6. Do you accept mobile phone batteries?

Yes, but they don't count towards your total unless there is a phone to go with them.

7. Is there a good poster to help publicise my phone collection?

Yes, this poster

8. How long have I got to collect the phones?

The campaign will run until the end of the year at least.

9. Do the phones have to be working?


10. Can I send in phones from overseas?

Absolutely, and many people do not realise this.  But they MUST be GSM phones and not CDMA phones.  Most countries use GSM, check this website for detail:

11. What are the best ways to collect phones?

Watch this space....another blog post on is coming soon!

More about the Hearts and Minds charity here:

Twitter: @handmchallenge  

Monday, 9 July 2012

A School for Autism

The Mobile Phone Recycling Campaign is just one part of the Hearts and Minds Challenge that is raising funds to build an Education Centre for Autism in Greater Manchester. 
The mission

To raise the quality of life of individuals and their families affected by autism by ensuring the highest standards in education, care and support leading to employment and equality of living opportunities.

The Aim

The Education Centre will provide help and support for academically capable children with autism so that they can progress to mainstream school and thrive there.

The Plan

Early intervention, a structured education program and tailored support services, so that pupils can succeed at key stages 1, 2 and 3 in mainstream school. To train teaching staff to work with these children, to run a transition program to prepare the children to join mainstream schools, and to give them tools to help them to cope both socially and academically in their new school.

The Education Centre

Will cater for 25 pupils, from age 3 to 11.   Each classroom will have five pupils with one teacher experienced in working with autistic children, and 2 teaching assistants.  There will also be an occupational therapist and 2 speech and language therapists on site to work closely with the children.

The Transition Programme

Pupils will be introduced to a mainstream school in a controlled way over a period of time.  The teaching assistant that has been supporting the child will accompany them. The first visit to the new school will be purely to look around.  Pupils will be slowly introduced to their new classmates and teacher starting with a short 1 hour lesson and increasing gradually over a period of time until they are ready to attend full time.  The teaching assistant will stay with the pupil at their new school, but will still get the support they need from Hearts and Minds.  This will help the pupil with their transition by ensuring continuity, and will also help the mainstream school as they will have a member of staff that knows the needs of the pupil, and has gained valuable experience working with autistic children that can be passed onto other staff at the school.

The fundraising target for the new school campaign is £1 Million.

Fundraising: As well as the mobile phone recycling campaign, the Hearts and Minds Challenge team are holding a number of charity fundraising events throughout 2012:

Manchester Marathon in April
Big Red Bike Ride in June
Trek to Macchu Picchu in August
An Evening with Mrs Brown in September

Donate on-line here:

More about the Hearts and Minds charity here:

Twitter: @handmchallenge