Broxbourne Council urges residents to donate unwanted laptops to help vulnerable people stay connected

A new scheme funded by the late Captain Tom is calling on residents of the Borough of Broxbourne to donate their old IT equipment.

Unwanted devices, such as laptops and tablets, are being used across Hertfordshire to help vulnerable people get online and stay connected, especially during a time of heightened isolation. The equipment will be wiped by a team of community volunteers, repurposed and distributed to those identified as in need.

‘Staying Connected’ is a two-year digital inclusion project and is being run through local Community Volunteers’ Services (CVS).

A Spokesperson for Staying Connected said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown light on the mental health struggles related to inclusion and participation, particularly with the older generation who have not been able to see family and friends since last March, and are feeling more and more isolated as time goes on.”

The project is targeting four main areas:

•         Access to equipment

•         Access to connectivity

•         Fear of using equipment

•         Skills in using the equipment.

As well as providing laptops and tablets to those in need, Staying Connecting will organise for basic training and support through its network of Digital Champions.

The Staying Connected Spokesperson added: “We are asking our local community and business network to donate unwanted equipment and will be using our network of the hundreds of volunteers who have signed up since the first lockdown to support those new to technology to build confidence and ensure their new equipment has a positive impact on their health.”

To help people stay online once they have been given a device, Tesco Mobile are supplying dongles with airtime. This is part of Tesco Mobile Reconnects, a ‘Purpose in Action’ programme to help vulnerable people reconnect to society by giving away free handsets.

For more on the Tesco Mobile Reconnects initiative, visit www.tescomobile.com/reconnects.

To become a Digital Champion or donate a laptop, contact susan@cvsbeh.org.uk.

Published: August 26th 2021