20/03/2024

MP Simon Lightwood backs our appeal to close digital divide

Labour MP for Wakefield, Simon Lightwood, has offered his support to Propel Tech's call out for donations of old laptops to be regenerated and given to people experiencing hardship.

Known for his work in addressing the digital divide on a community level, Simon has given his full support to our ‘Re-Tech’ campaign which invites businesses in the local area to drop off devices up to ten years old for them to be given a new lease of life. Once the machines are checked and installed with free essential software, they will be distributed to people who are crying out for technology to do basic tasks. This includes searching and applying for jobs, comparing the cost of utilities and essential goods, managing finances, helping children with homework, and keeping in touch with loved ones. 

Andy Brown, founder and director at Propel Tech says: “Many businesses in the private sector update laptops and phones after three to four years, leaving thousands of devices, with plenty of life left in them for domestic use, going spare. We want to use our large office space and connections to gather as many laptops as possible, and get them into the hands and homes of people that really need them.” 

To restore the computers, Propel Tech partners with Wakefield-based Chris Lord, who has been reconfiguring old tech for local families in need for the past three years, and SocialBox.Biz, a national CIC that distributes recovered tech to older people experiencing hardship, homeless people and refugees. 

Simon Lightwood adds: “Digital inclusion is critical for a fair and balanced society. Most essential activity is carried out online these days - from homework to GP consultations - yet many families in Wakefield and across the UK do not have access to computers or the internet. On the flip side of this, there are organisations throughout the country that have old tech piling up in corners and cupboards which could provide a real lifeline to many people in need. 

“I urge organisations to put aside some time to empty those cupboards, wipe their devices, and get them over to Propel Tech where it can work with its partners to get them back to good use. It’s recycling at its very best.” 

Simon Lightwood also supports Virgin Money and The Good Things Foundation’s National Databank initiative to provide free internet access to those who need it most. MP Simon Lightwood concludes: “Access to devices and data go hand in hand when it comes to closing the digital divide. I’m delighted to support companies and individuals doing their bit to give everyone access to essential technology.” 

Companies wishing to donate their old laptops, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Samsung phones and other devices under 10 years old, in any quantities, from a single device to a larger number, can drop them off at Propel Tech, Stonebridge House, 149 Wakefield Rd, Horbury, Wakefield WF4 5HQ. Businesses can complete the dedicated Re-Tech form to log their donation and arrange device drop-off.

Author: Claire Anderson
20/03/2024

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