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  • Writer's pictureSustainable Tech 4 Good

Tackling digital poverty throughout 2022

Laptops4Learning – a growing impact for good

As we approach Christmas and the end of 2022, we take a moment to look back at our exciting journey. We are proud of our impact so far, with more than 4,300 people helped with devices since the start of the pandemic, and over 2000 of them within 2022. We continue to grow our impact, adding more charity partners, and taking more tech from businesses who want to improve their sustainability and help their local community. Our work has now saved more than 900 tonnes of needless CO2 emissions and over 7,300kgs of e-waste.

Digital inclusion is more important than ever, with Russia’s continuing war on Ukraine exacerbating the energy and cost-of living crises, and putting an enormous strain on household budgets. The global threat from climate change is also getting ever more urgent. There is no more appropriate time for the Laptops4Learning solution, using sustainable tech 4 social good.


Spotlight on some key areas in 2022

Our work originally started with devices to enable remote learning during lockdowns and has since widened to cover all areas of need. Below is a flavour of just a few of the areas where we have been helping over 2022:

Refugees

We had been supporting Afghan and other refugees as the year started, and the war in Ukraine has brought many Ukrainian families to the UK to seek safety. They have had to flee with very little, and urgently need devices to enable education, communication and access to services. We have had a big focus on refugees in 2022, getting many devices out through Councils supporting refugees in bridging hotels, as well as doing significant work with the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign to get devices to refugees living in the local community. We have also worked with, Suffolk Refugee Support, Medway Help for Ukrainians, the Cardinal Hume Centre and the Salvation Army.

This year we were delighted to able to support Groundwork London’s fantastic IMPACT programme, which teaches computer skills to Afghan refugees living in bridging hotels, enabling them to look for education, work or volunteering opportunities, and access important services like online banking or the GP.

Homeless

Homelessness is a complex problem, brought about by many different factors. It is likely to increase during the current cost of living crisis, and we are delighted to be working with several organisations, supporting their invaluable work with the homeless. Mobile phones are a lifeline to those sleeping rough, and we got these devices out through Cambridge Street Pastors and It Takes a City.

Getting supported lodgings is the first step to enabling the homeless to rebuild their lives. Concrete Rose in Cambridge and Youth Community Home in London do invaluable work in this area and we have been very pleased to be able to support this through providing laptops.

Help for individuals

It is very rewarding for us to be able to address a specific need, where we have the individual story of the recipient who needs help. It has been our privilege to offer help to several such individuals this year, through organisations such as South Peterborough PCN, Littleport Parish Council, Barnardos Child and Family Centres, and Counting Every Adult. Having a device to enable online access can help people to gain employment, engage in education or communicate with others, improving the quality of their lives.

Overseas Education

While our primary focus this year has been on digital inclusion in the UK, we have been very glad to continue supporting education projects overseas, with devices going to help educate local children through KHEN Cambodia and to Uganda through KickstartCoffee, which will ultimately help to improve the life chances of the children.

Business Partners Critical

We could not do anything at without the fantastic support of our generous business partners, who have their surplus tech sustainably reused for social good. We are delighted that more and more companies are sharing our vision to help digital inclusion in their local communities through their redundant tech. We supply them with sustainability and digital inclusion reports, demonstrating their impact. We firmly believe in the importance of local and connecting local needs with local businesses, thereby fostering good community relations. The benefits of digital inclusion also spread back to companies, as the local pool for employment becomes more digitally skilled. We are particularly pleased to be working with Cambridge Ahead to encourage yet more businesses adopt this solution and make a real difference in Cambridge

Closing reflections

At Laptops4Learning we are passionate about digital inclusion, and are delighted to have been able to have a positive impact on so many people’s lives. However, there is so much more need out there that needs addressing. Digital poverty cuts across a very wide demographic and more people are falling into it through no fault of their own. People who were only just managing are now making impossible choices between heating and eating. In such circumstances buying data or digital devices is out of the question, and without help disadvantage becomes endemic. We very much welcome initiatives to get data to those in need, such as the Good Things Foundation’s databank supported by Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three. We look to continue our own digital inclusion crusade in 2023, getting ever more devices back into reuse to address digital poverty.

A very big thank you to all the charities, organisations and businesses who have worked with us in 2022 – without you our work would not be possible. We wish you all a very happy and healthy Christmas, and let’s make 2023 an even better year for helping both our environment and those in digital poverty!

Sue Gowling – 22/12/22

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