Today we’re launching a campaign in London to mobilise donations of laptops, cash, and contributions of volunteers’ skills so that unused laptops can be transformed into laptops for students and people in need. Ofcom estimates that up to 1.8 million school children, many currently at home with lockdown, do not have adequate access to a computer and the internet.
Visit our London campaign page to find out where in your London borough you donate laptops and cash.
Damian Griffiths at our partner organisation Catbytes CIC, in Lewisham, says
“The response has been great but there are currently still thousands of children in Lewisham doing their homework on smartphones. We desperately need donated laptops so we can wipe them, refurbish them, and distribute them to the schools that are requesting them from us.”
Support Restart’s crowdfunder
Supporters of The Restart Project are encouraged to donate to our own crowdfunding campaign, which will help us mobilise our volunteers to help supercharge computer reuse efforts across London.
One of the barriers to turning around laptops more quickly is simply volunteer power. To supercharge their efforts at a community level, The Restart Project is mobilising its repair volunteers to help with the most challenging laptops. Our Restarters have shared their skills in years of community Restart Parties, events which are now on hold because of the pandemic.
Last year we worked with community reuse projects, and in the coming months we can still work closely together, despite the challenges, to increase the number of students who have access to laptops.
Now, we’re creating a virtual help-desk where community projects can allocate challenging repairs to Restart’s home-based volunteers. Where possible, we will use pedal-powered couriers to move hardware.
From our perspective, this is also an important moment for our efforts to promote a better relationship with electronics. The public is realising that the dusty laptop in their cupboard is valuable and can have a second life. Many older laptops and PCs can be upgraded with little effort or investment, and/or given a second life with a new operating system.
Our goal is to repair and ready 240 laptops for use by students in need, and to donate any funds not used for spare parts or transport to reuse organisations in our London network.
Thanks to London Waste and Recycling Board for helping us get out the word and supporting our efforts in London.