June 13, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Life-changing uses for old Laptops and Macs – social enterprise announces Christmas drive to get businesses, universities and colleges to sign up

SocialBox.Biz, an innovative tech-focused social enterprise based in the UK dedicated to repurposing unwanted computers and related technology, is embarking on a mission to deliver batches of laptops and useful IT to partner charities in November and December just before Christmas. This initiative aims to extend its reach to more organisations willing to participate and contribute their unused IT equipment.

Since 2014, donated technology has been pivotal in bridging the digital divide, providing refugees, homeless individuals, and older people who cannot afford computers access to IT technology and communication tools. Partner organisations like Migrant Help UK and Age UK London, C4WS, British Red Cross, The Passage and others…who provide shelter, sustenance, and other essential living necessities, also aid the disadvantaged in finding employment and education by identifying individuals who could benefit from a laptop to achieve their goals. This initiative also helps prevent recycling emissions.

Yulia From Ukraine

Noteworthy beneficiaries include Yordanos, known as DJ Yordi, who arrived in Northern Ireland as a refugee from Eritrea. His laptop has been instrumental in navigating his music career. Another success story is Sebastian, who was homeless but managed to secure employment and career training with the help of his device. Yuliia, who arrived in Great Britain with her two sons under the Homes for Ukraine scheme fleeing the war, needed a laptop to learn English and support Ukrainian refugees. Also, her children can enhance their language skills thanks to the laptop.

British Red Cross, Refugee Family Reunion

Carolyn Williams, the Social Impact spokesperson for SocialBox.Biz, stated, “We are the only Community Interest Company that repurposes old but functional tech from companies, universities, and other large organisations, placing them in the hands of disadvantaged individuals in local UK communities. We offer on-site data removal services and load the technology with open-source software, solving common IT challenges for organisations while creating social impact for our clients. We’ve made significant strides, but with more partners, we can accomplish even more.”

Older SocialBox.Biz IT Receipient

Peter Paduh, the founder and Chairman of SocialBox.Biz and a former Bosnian child refugee, commented, “My life transformed when I received an old computer to support my education and integration into British society. A simple laptop opened up a whole new world where I could apply for jobs, conduct research, and work towards my goals. Without a laptop, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have. Donating usable laptops and other tech can provide a lifeline for refugees and other disadvantaged individuals striving to rebuild their lives.”

Emily Rycroft‑Huddart, Employment Strategy Manager at The Passage charity that addresses homelessness, added: “SocialBox’s kind donations have had a profound impact on the people we support by bridging the digital divide for vulnerable individuals, including refugees and people experiencing homelessness, providing them essential tools for education, employment, and communication.”

SocialBox.Biz is committed to giving back to the community and has recently launched the ‘Scholarships for Refugees and Homeless People’ scholarship program. This initiative aims to support universities and colleges in their efforts to give back to the community and reduce emissions by reusing old tech before recycling it. The program provides funding for COMPTIAA+ training and more made possible through recent contributions of old but still functional Macbooks and computers from Imperial College London and Norwich University of the Arts.

Mylene Cannon, Support Manager of ICT, commented, “At Imperial College London, we believe in the transformative power of technology to drive positive change and empower communities. We proudly contribute to SociaBox.Biz’s mission of fostering social innovation and sustainable development by donating devices that the university and our community no longer use”.

As part of its Christmas appeal, SocialBox.Biz urges organisations to collaborate with their CIO or IT managers to identify any old MacBooks, laptops, and other devices that are ready for a new home with those who need them most.