Hundreds of laptops gifted to help vulnerable people get online

People accessing foodbanks, refugees and those experiencing and at risk of homelessness in Oxfordshire are among those being given access to 300 refurbished laptops, helping them to get online this winter.

Oxfordshire County Council has given the computers to Getting Oxfordshire Online, an initiative that recycles older technology to be given to charitable organisations in the county. The donation represents a commitment to the council’s digital inclusion strategy, helping to tackle inequalities in the county.

Councillor Glynis Phillips, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “I am extremely proud of the council’s IT Service team behind this donation. Improving digital inclusion is a key priority for the council, reducing inequalities and helping people to access vital support at the touch of a button, giving them the power to help themselves. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.”

The computers were provided by the county council’s IT, Innovation and Digital Service, who ensured they were securely wiped before arranging the handover to Aspire Oxfordshire, a charity which empowers people facing homelessness, poverty and disadvantage to find employment and housing.

John Dennis, Getting Oxfordshire Online Hub Manager at Aspire, said: “Getting online can make a real difference to a person’s life, helping them to find a job, putting them in touch with organisations who can support them or just giving someone the chance to talk to family and friends. We are extremely grateful to receive these laptops which will be used by those most in need.”Laptops for homeless Oxfordshire

The digital inclusion project, Getting Oxfordshire Online, not only refurbishes and distributes the devices but also helps people to access the data, training and the support they need to get online.

The first batch has already been distributed to homeless charities, with a further 40 earmarked for refugees arriving in the county. Charities supporting older people, families facing financial difficulties and people with additional needs are also in line to benefit.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Digital exclusion is a real issue and can prevent vulnerable people from accessing the vital support they need. Technology moves on quickly and while these laptops are no longer suitable for the council, they have the potential to help others to get online and find the support they need.”

Ben Tuppen, who leads the Getting Oxfordshire Online programme, said: “We welcome donations from big organisations as well as members of the public. Each laptop has the potential to change a person’s life, so if you get a new device this Christmas, please consider gifting your old one to our programme.”  

Second hand laptops, tablets and phones can be donated at three Getting Oxfordshire Online hubs: Bicester Green in Bicester, Aspire in Oxford and SOFEA in Didcot.

For more information about the programme go to gettingoxfordshireonline.org and watch our short video.

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