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Restart Podcast Ep. 74: Why digital access is a right, with Ready Tech Go

Nikos handing over a donated device

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With the opening of the first Fixing Factory fast approaching, we spoke to one of the partners we’ll be working with, Ready Tech Go (RTG). Nikos Souslous is one of the Co-Founders of Ready Tech Go. He talked to us about what inspired the organisation’s creation, the importance of digital access, and how RTG is going to evolve. 

Recognising the need for digital access

The idea for RTG was born at a food bank at the Clem Attlee Court Estate in Fulham, where co-founders were volunteering during the first UK lockdown. While helping those in need, they realised there was a different demand that needed addressing. Once schools stopped in-person teaching and community centres closed to the public, many people were struggling without online access. So, they set to work pooling their contacts and expertise to meet this need. RTG, an organisation that refurbishes and redistributes tech, was born. 

Since then, RTG has helped over 500 people and their families by giving them a device. And it’s not only students that have benefited. RTG help out anyone who is recommended to them as in need. This includes school children, refugees, elderly people, and those who need to access services like applying for housing. Souslous shares examples with us of some of the lives that have been changed by their work, including a family with multiple children who previously shared a single device for schoolwork. 

Understanding their community

As an organisation led by people of colour, Nikos tells us how they have been able to empathise with the communities that they are helping. He explains that “the vast majority of [their] beneficiaries are of ethnic minority background” and their own experiences mean that they better understand their beneficiaries’ needs. 

He also challenges the view that many hold about West London as an affluent area. Souslous points out that there is a huge disparity between communities. While this is a display of the wealth divide that the country suffers from, it also means that neighbours are able to help each other. He notes that there have been cases where a device has been donated to someone across the street from the donor, without either party knowing each other previously. 

Fixing Factories and the future

RTG is working with Restart on the Brent Fixing Factory that is opening in April. Souslous tells us how this project means that they can expand their team that has previously been majority volunteer-led. It’s a great time to build on and celebrate the work that they have done with existing partners, as well as expand further. We’re looking forward to catching up with the RTG team and other partners in a few months – until then stay tuned for developments!

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[Photos courtesy of Ready Tech Go]

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