Tameside Community Computers CIC takes donations of old laptops, refurbishes them and donates them to organisations in the Northwest who distribute them to people disadvantaged by the digital divide.
Addressing the digital divide and helping reduce landfill
Laptops not suitable for full refurbishment are used for parts, and any materials left over are sent for recycling, helping to reduce e-waste landfill. The CIC also donates data SIM cards for people in digital poverty, who don’t have access to the internet at home.
Partnering since the Pandemic
Career Connect has been partnering with Tameside Community Computers CIC since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donated and refurbished laptops helped young people on Career Connect programmes to stay in touch with their Career Advisers, allowing them to continue to build their employability skills, research vacancies and apply for jobs or college places. It also contributed to young people’s wellbeing and helped reduce isolation.
Impressed by the positive impact, Career Connect Careers Adviser Andy Cannell started to collect old unwanted laptops from across the Northwest and became a Volunteer Fundraising Director for Tameside Community Computers CIC.
Career Connect donates 70 old staff laptops
The collaboration has grown over time, and to date, Career Connect itself has donated more than 70 old staff laptops for refurbishment and redistribution.
Andy Cannell and Dan Birtles, Director of IT at Career Connect, were there to welcome the latest delivery of laptops from Tameside Community Computers CIC CEO Mike Brooks, Chief Experience Officer Cerid Grimshaw, and IT Technician Matthew Hopkinson. The laptops have already been allocated to young people on Career Connect programmes across the Northwest. .
Andy Cannell is now a contact point for any individuals or businesses in Merseyside looking to donate their old laptops – with January a key time for people looking to dispose of their old tech.
Social value is a big part of our culture
Dan Birtles, Director of IT at Career Connect, said: “Working with Tameside Community Computers CIC is a great fit for our charity, in line with the work we do to help people access a career or education path. Social value is a big part of our culture. Being able to both donate laptops and see the refurbished devices make a real difference to the lives of the people we work with is fantastic.
“There is also the benefit of reducing waste and landfill. As an organisation, we are committed to reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2035, and this programme is one of the ways that we can contribute to that.”
Giving under-served young people the opportunity to follow a passion
Andy Cannell said: “Digital access is vital in helping the young people we work with get on with their career or further education plans. Applying for jobs or courses, researching opportunities, paying bills, access to wellbeing support, or online courses – almost everything requires a laptop and internet connection these days.
“Digital poverty is a real issue, and the digital divide is getting bigger. With the cost-of-living crisis, we are seeing more situations where households are having to cancel their internet connection, and access to a laptop is out of the question.
“I have seen whole families’ lives change because their young person was given a refurbished laptop.
“It’s also about giving under-served young people the opportunity to follow a passion. One young person we worked with wanted to pursue a career in music, and thanks to one of the refurbished laptops, he was able to use music making software. This helped him develop his skills, but it also had a profound effect on his wellbeing and confidence.”
Helping local young people to take positive steps in employment or education
Cerid Grimshaw, Chief Experience Officer at Tameside Community Computers CIC said: “We aim to tackle two big problems – the digital divide and e-waste. There is still a big gap in access to opportunities for those of all ages who are and aren’t digitally connected. A huge amount of E-Waste also goes to landfill sites in the UK, and we want to reduce this.
“We work with local organisations across the Northwest to provide a regional response to both of these issues. We have a great relationship with Career Connect, and it is brilliant to see how the computers we refurbish and supply are helping local young people to take positive steps in employment or education.
“The beauty of what we do is that individuals, businesses and organisations can donate their old laptops in the knowledge that it will have a positive, long-term impact within their local communities.”