How redundant laptops are helping people in Sunderland find jobs and learn new skills

Redundant laptops are being given a new lease of life helping people in Sunderland to find jobs as part of a city-wide recycling scheme.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 12:48 pm
(l-r) Councillor Linda Williams Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, Ian Murphy and Jonathan Ward of Protech and Grace Taylor Uplift Association Office Manager.

The Go, Get Online scheme was set up by Sunderland City Council’s East Sunderland Area Committee earlier this summer to help charities provide vital IT skills to the communities they support, due to demand the scheme now covers the whole city.The first 10 of more than 130 laptops and desktops donated by the council to help kick-start the scheme, were handed over to Hind Street based training provider Uplift Associates this week and are already being put to good use.Uplift, which is based at Hope Street Xchange, helps people to improve the digital skills they need for the world of work, as well as their mental health and confidence.Grace Taylor from the charity, said: "We will be using the laptops to support our learners who come to Uplift and need IT support.

"Some don’t have access to laptops at home and these laptops will help improve their confidence using computers. They can also learn to write CV’s and all aspects of job searching in the ever-changing digital world."Our personal development and confidence-building courses also require access to IT for research, so these laptops will go a long way in improving the mental health of our learners who are struggling."

Uplift is also opening a new IT Village at The Bridges shopping Centre where people will be able to drop in and use laptops for job searching and the organisation are also hoping to link in with recruitment agencies to help provide the next step into work.

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Councillor Linda Williams Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Vibrant City (standing second left), Ian Murphy (standing third left) Grace Taylor Uplift Association Office Manager (fourth from left) and Jonathan Ward (standing right) of Protech with staff and learners at Uplift Association offices, Hope Street Exchange, Sunderland.

Councillor Linda Williams, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, said: "We're delighted to have been able to put some of our redundant IT equipment to such good use. It's really exciting to see the first of our recycled laptops going out into the community after being restored to their factory settings and upgraded."The pandemic has brought the digital divide into sharp focus. Anyone without access to IT is at a clear disadvantage when it comes to everything from finding a job and home working to keeping in touch with family and friends, home learning or accessing online services.”

She added: “This scheme is all about helping people to get online by providing them with access to the equipment and the support they need to use it, whether that's to learn from home, apply for jobs or access online services like banking, shopping and medical appointments."We hope that other organisations in the city will follow our lead and donate their redundant devices to Go Get Online rather than potentially have them going to landfill and we'd love residents to donate any unwanted equipment too."

The council has partnered with Peterlee-based Protech on the scheme.

Ian Murphy from Protech, said: "Our role here is provide piece of mind to organisations when donating equipment. We ensure no data is left on the devices and that they remain compliant with relevant legislation. It's great to see this scheme finally coming to fruition after a lot of hard work from Sunderland City Council.

"We're both working hard to bridge the digital divide in the area but need more help from our local businesses."

The council is hoping to encourage other private and public sector organisations to donate equipment.

Members of the public can also donate unwanted devices to the appeal at secure donation points across the city.

Once wiped clean, restored to its factory settings and upgraded with Microsoft Office by Protech ready to be sent to its new home, the computer equipment is offered for sale at the low cost of £120 including VAT to registered charities and eligible VCS organisations which are members of the city's VCS Area Networks.

This allows them to be distributed and shared with digitally excluded people/households at the same time as providing support to residents to improve their digital skills.

Anyone who would like to donate their unwanted laptops/IT equipment to the scheme can do so at:

Back on the Map, 67 Toward Road Hendon, Sunderland SR2 8JG Tel: 0191 514 7844https://backonthemap.org/Blue Watch Youth Centre, Burdon Lane, Ryhope, Sunderland SR2 0HR Tel: 0191 521 4060 https://www.facebook.com/Bluewatch-173060182871690/

St Marks Community Association (Behind the Church off Hylton Road, St Mark's Terrace, Sunderland SR4 7BNPhone: 0191 514 4126 http://www.stmarksca.co.uk/Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre, 30 Tatham St, Hendon, Sunderland SR1 2QD. Tel: 0191 564 0888, Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre | FacebookThe Box Youth and Community Project, Hall Farm Rd, Doxford Sunderland SR3 2UY Tel: 0191 522 5031

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