Home chevron_right Latest news chevron_right Tired old laptops given new lease of life to boost digital inclusion

Tired old laptops given new lease of life to boost digital inclusion

Social care

Wednesday, 06 December 2023
One of the Google workshops

Tired and slow laptops have been given a new lease of life as part of an innovative pilot scheme to boost digital inclusion.

Many people have an old digital device in a drawer or cupboard that’s deemed too sluggish to be used, especially older residents who may have been gifted second hand laptops by family or friends.

But as more parts of everyday life go online, it’s vital that everyone in Middlesbrough has access to the digital world.

Middlesbrough Council’s Rekindle service, part of the Staying Put Agency, is now rescuing those old laptops by installing the Google Chrome operating system for free – which has markedly improved performance and given owners access to a host of free Google software.

Some of the first recipients of a renewed laptop also attended workshops at Grove Hill Community Hub to learn how to use the free tools – and all the participants love the way their machines now operate.

Khadim Hussain, who attended the workshop, said: “I forgot my password and was locked out of the machine. Now I can use it again.

“I was relying heavily on my kids to help me but now I’m confident I can do things independently.”

Steve Thompson, Digital Inclusion Adviser at Middlesbrough Council, said: "I first heard about this idea in a presentation by Nottingham Council. I experimented with it and found it to be a great way to revive old laptops that would otherwise go to landfill.

“The Staying Put Agency helps people in Middlesbrough to live independent lives and a big part of that work is to make sure people of all ages and abilities can get online. This pilot scheme is one way to help.”

As part of the Rekindle project, a research group has formed which has worked on projects including Digital Walks around Stewart Park and St Hilda’s.

It’s discovered and curated a host of new stories about Middlesbrough’s early life.

Catherine McPartland, who is a member of the Rekindle Research Group and had her laptop renewed as part of the scheme, said: "The laptop is great and the Google tools will be a real value to our research group."

Anyone who has a laptop which isn’t running effectively, wants to attend a workshop or simply find out more can call 01642 726058.

Catherine with her newly improved laptop