Barnet Council repurposes 260 laptops for digitally excluded residents

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Two hundred and sixty of Barnet Council’s corporate laptops have been repurposed for distribution among the borough’s schools and community organisations to tackle digital exclusion.

One hundred and forty six have been distributed to schools this week (w/c 22 March), with 114 more still to be distributed. The laptops, which were coming to the end of their corporate purpose but are still fully functional for a lower workload, would otherwise have been recycled.

Barnet Council has worked with Barnet Education and Learning Service as well as voluntary and community sector partners to identify schools and community organisations to distribute the laptops to.

The team at Capita, who provide the Council’s internal IT support services, have wiped clear and refurbished over 200 of the Council’s corporate laptops in under a month. The laptops will now be given a new lease of life by supporting some of the borough’s most digitally excluded residents.

John Hooton, CEO of Barnet Council, said: “The ability to access digital devices is incredibly important – now more than ever. The barriers faced by digitally excluded residents have been made all the more apparent this past year, as we have all relied more and more on digital means to access services, home learning, training, and even staying connected with friends and family through a screen.

We have been working hard on this initiative with our Education team, our local voluntary sector providers and our IT service, and I am very grateful for everyone’s hard work. Through the work to upcycle instead of recycle our corporate laptops, we are able to tackle digital exclusion in our borough and provide access to learning, training and connections that have previously been unattainable for some of our residents.”

Kirstie Barrett, Head Teacher, Coppetts Wood Primary School and Children’s Centre, said: “I’m delighted that we were selected to take part in this scheme as it will make an important positive difference to the lives of some of our children and their families. We’ve been able to identify our pupils with the greatest need, and are excited to see the benefit these laptops will make to their education and development.”

Bryan Webb, IT Director, Capita Local Public Services, said: “We hope that these laptops can help reduce digital poverty within Barnet and enable many children, adults and families to get connected during these unprecedented times.”

The first wave of the project is already underway, with 10 schools receiving laptops this week. A further 80 laptops are due to be distributed among local community organisations to operate on a loan basis for digitally excluded adults, to support people through education, qualifications, training, job applications, accessing online services and more.

The Council hopes to continue this scheme into the future, diverting corporate laptops from the recycling bin and distributing them throughout the borough to tackle digital exclusion.

Barnet corporate laptops distribution