"Donate IT Oldham" helps vulnerable residents access IT equipment

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Oldham residents who are struggling to access much needed digital services could benefit from a new scheme to boost digital inclusion across the area.

The new scheme “Donate IT Oldham” will bridge the digital gap for the most vulnerable residents by providing refurbished devices such as used laptops, smartphones, and tablets that businesses and members of the public  no longer need.    Oldham Council, in partnership with refurbishment provider, Tameside Community Computers (TCC), aims to collect over 500 unwanted devices between January 2024 and January 2025.

Businesses and members of the public can donate unwanted devices across all of Oldham Council’s libraries.   Almost 40% of Oldham residents who responded to the Greater Manchester Residents' Survey in 2023 said they, or someone they lived with, experienced some form of digital inclusion issues.

This effects access online learning, applingy for jobs, and attending virtual classes because they lack suitable digital devices and internet connections at home.    Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, said: "Not having access to digital tools and resources can have a significant impact on people’s health, careers, and social connections.    “The rising cost of living and inflation increases mean times are particularly hard for people across the borough at the moment.

Being isolated from digital connectivity can be particularly tough for those with low income, those who are homeless, older residents without much support, refugees and asylum seekers, and people facing language or cultural barriers.   “We’re committed to doing all we can to help close the existing digital skills void and provide essential resources so residents lives’ can be the best they can be."   TCC has made a commitment that 50% of all donations will come back to the council in useable condition, which is the highest rate of return across Greater Manchester.

To demonstrate our commitment, Oldham Council is donating over 300 devices to the scheme across 2024.   Councillor Jabbar, added: “We know people can face a long wait for devices through Oldham Libraries' popular device lending programme because of the demand for IT equipment. This shows how important it is to donate unwanted devices so together we can bridge the gap and more people can access digital services that can make a real difference.”   

For more information on how to donate and help log on to www.oldham.gov.uk/DonateIT

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