School children going back to school will need laptops to support them with their learning.
Getting Oxfordshire Online accepts disused laptops and tablets, refurbishing them securely and donating them to people who need them, such as schoolchildren, job seekers and isolated older people. Now in its pilot phase, the initiative began because COVID-19 shed a new light on digital exclusion, with thousands of people in Oxfordshire unable to get online.
Although pandemic restrictions are easing, more and more vital services have moved online and there is a significant long-term need for digital access and skills.
Infrastructure company Bouygues Energies and Services, pictured, is one of the first organisations to donate devices to Getting Oxfordshire Online. The company’s Oxford office gave 10 laptops to the donation hub at Aspire, which were wiped and revamped ready for their new users.
Operations Manager Kris Saric says: “The project aligns with Bouygues’ own vision to help build a safer, smarter and more energy efficient world for the local communities in which we operate. Through our donation of ten refurbished laptops, we hope that people who have found themselves digitally excluded in an increasingly contactless world, escalated by COVID-19, feel less disconnected from society. We strongly encourage others to support this cause as the project provides isolated people with easy accessibility to health care services, food deliveries and contact with family and friends.”
As the new term starts, Getting Oxfordshire Online expects to see an increase in demand from schoolchildren, who will need to keep up with homework and improve their digital skills as they begin a new school year.
Rob Pavey of Cheney Secondary School says: “There are certain things that we have done during the pandemic that we are going to keep doing: the use of Google Classroom, some blended learning, the use of digital platforms to make access to digital information and learning and revision easier in the future. The assistance of the community in plugging gaps where there are children who struggle at home with access and financing is going to be incredibly important.”
Getting Oxfordshire Online welcomes donations from companies as well as individuals, who can donate at one of three hubs across Oxfordshire, in Didcot, Oxford and Bicester.