Working together to #FixTheDigitalDivide

By Julia Norton, Administrator, PCrefurb

18th August 2021

PCrefurb is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered Charity Number 1184155, working across Greater Manchester and the High Peak.

PCrefurb aims to "bridge the digital divide" refurbishing donated IT equipment and redistributing it to those most in need, helping people connect with training and education and to support their well-being. We provide digital skills training in the community and engage volunteers in all areas of our work, some of whom face complex challenges. We work together for social and environmental good. In 2021 alone, PCrefurb has received 235 referrals for equipment and 47 referrals for skills training.

In October 2020, PCrefurb joined Greater Manchester’s Digital Inclusion Taskforce, reinforcing PCrefurb’s ambition to tackle digital exclusion in the communities it serves.

Joining forces

PCrefurb Trustee, Steve Lafferty, contacted Richard Zhou, Government Affairs Director, Huawei Technologies after meeting him on a taskforce call at the end of April 2021. A proposal was discussed as to how a possible donation of devices could be used and distributed. Richard was extremely open and positive about the plan and consequently got approval to donate the 120 laptops to support the digital Inclusion initiative in Greater Manchester.

We worked with Tameside Council to support local residents to gain access to devices. The laptops were presented at a special event held at Dukinfield Town Hall on 30 July.

Image of several people stood on the steps outside a red brick building, one woman with mayoral chains is holding a laptop being passed to her by a male
Image of a thank you poster, includes heading THANK YOU and images of people who have benefitted through this donation of devices

The laptops donated by Huawei will help people referred to us at PCrefurb, through initiatives such as our Digital Wellbeing Project and via our lending library. We also gifted some of the laptops to charities and groups that we support across Greater Manchester including Home-Start HOST, White Bridge College Pupil Referral Unit and Marinel Foundation.

The laptops donated by Huawei will help people referred to us at PCrefurb, through initiatives such as our Digital Wellbeing Project and via our lending library. We also gifted some of the laptops to charities and groups that we support across Greater Manchester including Home-Start HOST, White Bridge College Pupil Referral Unit and Marinel Foundation.

The impact

Testimonials from the charities and groups we worked with have been humbling and show how important it is that we all work together to fix the digital divide:

White Bridge College Pupil Referral Service educates the most vulnerable children and young people in Tameside. Donations of IT equipment make a big difference to the lives of the individuals that are given a machine. The generosity of the Business Community to recognise the help that they can provide has been very humbling for all of us in the service. I can assure you that all the machines that have been donated are put to good use and make a real difference. Wendy Webster, Head of Centre, White Bridge College

Receiving laptops from PCrefurb and Huawei is a wonderful gesture and a great testament to the altruism of these organisations and their genuine compassion for engaging with local communities to create a better Manchester. The donation will help us in supporting the education of children across the city. It will also grant them the much needed access to high-grade technology to enhance their learning experience. We at Marinel and Hope-Hill Foundation very much appreciate the support. Thank you.” Theophilus Nelson, CEO Marinel Foundation

From my point of view these laptops are a lifeline for some of our families who struggle financially particularly with food poverty during the school holidays, They often have little or no money to feed their children as we refer to foodbanks on a regular basis so trying to afford any digital device is often impossible. We have parents who have more than one child, trying to access online support through just one mobile phone device is very difficult. The laptops will help families so much, thank you!” Vanda Lowe, Operations Manager Family Support (Home-Start)

Without the use of a Laptop I wouldn’t have been able to complete the Depression Management Course, that I found extremely helpful. I also have access to job search engines which is used daily.” Ingeus Employability Support Services client

Read more about Greater Manchester’s digital inclusion ambitions, including the Greater Manchester Technology Fund, which has, to date distributed over 3,500 digital kit ‘bundles’ to young people across the region.

Read more on PCrefurb, who work closely with Tameside Council to bridge the digital divide in Tameside. Visit their website, or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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