November 5, 2021
The Getting Oxfordshire Online partnership is encouraging people to give them unwanted laptops to be refurbished and passed to disadvantaged school students, older people and job seekers across the county.
Getting Oxfordshire Online is a new initiative that refurbishes donated devices and passes them to people who need them. It also helps people to access the data, training and support they need to get online.
Up to 40,000 people in Oxfordshire are not online, and nationally, 34% of children aged 5–16 do not have access to their own device. Although home schooling has come to an end, students still need to use the internet at home to avoid falling behind.
Supported with funding from Oxfordshire County Council and Our Common Good, the partners are working with 25 different schools across the county to create a pipeline of laptop donations and get them to those who need them most – and they now have over 100 children waiting for a device.
Other people benefitting from the initiative to refurbish donated laptops are isolated older people who may be using technology for the first time, as well as disadvantaged families, refugees, homeless people and job seekers. The initiative is partnering with local charities that work with these groups, operating on a referral basis to get those in need online and provide fair access to support, benefits and employment opportunities.
As well as meeting immediate needs, online access also boosts people’s long-term prospects, wellbeing and social mobility.
It is estimated that as many as 40 million unused gadgets are gathering dust in UK homes. Recycling and reusing this technology for the good of others can be a satisfying way to clear space in your home or business.
Local organisations such as Oxford City Council, Oxford Computer Consultants and Gobeyond Partners have already donated hundreds of unused devices. Getting Oxfordshire Online technical staff ensure that rigorous security measures are taken when repurposing devices, with each one ‘triple wiped’ and meeting the most demanding standards.
Getting Oxfordshire Online Chair Sarah Mitson says: “Digital exclusion is a long-term, existing issue that has been highlighted by COVID-19. The pandemic has spurred people into action – and there is a huge opportunity to maintain the momentum. We urge local businesses and individuals to donate their devices so that together we can make sure no-one in Oxfordshire is digitally excluded.”
Donating devices is easy: they can be dropped off at one of the Getting Oxfordshire Online hubs in Oxford, Didcot or Bicester, or collection arranged for bulk donations. The hubs are also the point of contact for organisations wishing to obtain free or low-cost devices for the people they work with.