Over the autumn of 2018 Sheffield Business Together co-ordinated the re-distribution of 190 computers and laptops to 45 charities and community groups in Sheffield.
This enabled charities, like Longley 4 Greens to support their local community through providing computers for job search, running group training sessions and supporting people on Universal Credit to update their online portal.
For small charities, community groups and foodbanks etc buying new computers is too expensive. Staff and volunteers work on really old, slow unreliable PC’s – many still using windows 98 on PC’s over 8 years old. When we were offered around 200 computers for free that were only three years old, we knew there would be demand from local charities.
Making giving simple through partnership.
It turns out that giving computers isn’t as simple as we thought. Hard drives needed to be destroyed making the offer less attractive to small charities without IT support.
Partnering with local non-profit Aspire Community Enterprise solved this problem. Aspire made the PC’s ready to use and SBT used our links through hosts at VAS to promote the offer to local charities.
SBT collected information about the numbers of computers groups required, what they would be used for and how many computers the groups could afford to pay for. Even though the PC’s were a fraction of the cost of buying from eBay, this low cost was out of reach for the smaller groups
Making giving strategic and tackling social issues.
With Universal Credit launching in Sheffield in November 2018, charities were worried that Sheffield would follow the experience in other cities and there would be an increase in people being sanctioned and losing their benefits. We wanted to play a strategic role to help reduce the impact in Sheffield.
People on Universal Credit need to keep an online portal updated with all of their job search activity. However, if you don’t have a computer at home, struggle to do things online or can’t read English well, updating the portal isn’t an easy task. The consequences of failing to update the portal can be losing 3 months of benefits placing vulnerable people in to serious debt.
SBT contacted Sheffield’s Universal Credit task group to notify them of the computer offer. We asked members if there was any funding to allow groups supporting people on universal credit to get free computers. St Mark’s Church in Broomhill heard about the initiative and gave a £1,500 donation – exactly the amount required to cover the cost of computers for small groups, supporting people in universal credit, who didn’t have money to pay for the computers.
As a result of this work, 190 computers have been re-distributed to 45 local charities for free or at a fraction of the cost of equivalent second hand computers.
Donate your old computers and resources! If you have old computers, particularly laptops, please get in touch and we can partner with Aspire again to get them ready to use and re-distribute them to charities in Sheffield. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Information about Aspire Community Enterprise:
• We are a licensed waste carrier
• We are a licensed WEEE processor & handler
• We are a registered Microsoft Refurbisher
• We can process and securely destroy digital data
• We are currently working towards ISO27001 (IT security Management)
• We are a registered charity & genuine social enterprise (Charity no 1116421)
www.aspire-sheffield.co.uk/ Tel: 0114 285 3788