Local businesses urged to donate old laptops to help refugees get back on their feet

We have partnered with national community interest company, SocialBox.Biz, to launch Re-Tech - a vital appeal to businesses to donate old laptops to help people experiencing hardship move forward with their lives. 

At Propel Tech, we have the advantage of owning large office space at our West Yorkshire base and can act as a drop-off and storage point for the laptops, before they are regenerated and distributed to refugees and other individuals urgently needing the lifeline a laptop can provide. 

Access to the internet and digital platforms is critical in enabling people to secure work, manage finances, and keep in touch with friends and families. Therefore, the Re-Tech initiative will not only help to address the widening digital divide but allow firms to recycle their old tech in a responsible, sustainable, and community-focused way. 

Andy Brown, founder and director at Propel Tech says: “The events of the past few years have seen many businesses downsize their office spaces, moving to smaller premises or co-working spaces, if not completely doing away with their physical workplaces altogether. With this has come a reduction in storage space to keep old and aging tech, and a requirement to get rid of it quickly without having the luxury of keeping hold of it until it finds a good home. 

“We have ample storage space at our Wakefield HQ, and our Re-Tech initiative, in partnership with the fantastic SocialBox.Biz, is the perfect way to put this to good use, whilst giving firms the peace of mind that their old laptops are going to a good home where they have the potential to change lives.” 

SocialBox.Biz is a national CIC that was founded by Peter Paduh, a former unaccompanied child refugee, ten years ago so he could give back by using his IT skills. As such, for the past decade, his initiative has been helping older people experiencing hardship and homeless people get back onto their feet, as well as refugees integrate into British society. 

Peter comments: “Encouraging companies to donate old tech is just one of our challenges. However, we also need the support of the business community to spread the word and facilitate drop-off and storage points to allow us to gather donations from all corners of the country. 

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Propel Tech, which has also donated several of its laptops and has committed to do so in the future. We hope this partnership will open the floodgate to many more donations from regional businesses based in West Yorkshire who may otherwise not know what to do with their old tech and don’t have the space to keep it lying around.” 

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2018 there were 5.3 million adults in the UK, or 10 percent of the adult UK population, who were non-internet users. Many of these are on low incomes, such as the refugees, young people in the care system, the homeless, the elderly and disabled people. Without access to the internet, there is a severe barrier to gaining employment, connecting with family and friends, managing finances, researching important information, and accessing cheaper deals for utilities and shopping. 

We are happy to receive laptops up to 10 years old, as long as they are in working order, ideally with their power packs - but this is not critical. Before donating, businesses must ensure their computers are wiped and reset to their original factory settings. 

During the regeneration process, laptops will be installed with Open Source Innovation, allowing for free access to essential software. 

Companies wishing to donate their old laptops, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and Samsung phones under 10 years old, in any quantities, from a single device to a larger haul, can drop them off at Propel Tech, Stonebridge House, 149 Wakefield Rd, Horbury, Wakefield WF4 5HQ. Please email ReTech@PropelTech.co.uk with details of your donation and to agree a drop off time.

Author: Andy Brown (quoted)
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