Ealing Council is donating nearly 1,000 laptops that it no longer needs to help disadvantaged residents in the borough through a project working with Ealing & Hounslow Voluntary and Community Services (EHCVS).
The Re-Klaim IT Ealing project takes surplus laptops from the council and then refurbishes them which are then given to eligible residents who have been referred by agencies including Ealing Foodbank and other local support services.
In a statement, the council said 100 laptops have already been given out by EHCVS and by the end of 2023 around another 900 will have also been given.
It said that this is aimed: “at helping the borough’s most vulnerable residents, for instance young people leaving care, those with physical or intellectual disabilities, or people receiving benefits.”
Councillor Steve Donnelly, the council’s cabinet member for an inclusive economy, said: “Tackling social isolation and bridging the digital divide are both priorities for the council. We want to help some our most marginalised residents to get online, learn new skills and explore fresh opportunities.”
Residents who get a laptop will also be provided with training on how to use it and learn basic IT skills and can get free WiFi at West Ealing Community Managed Library run by EHCVS, or at any other library in the borough.
Irfan Arif from EHCVS said: “It’s amazing what a difference it makes to people’s lives, seeing them grow in confidence online. They might join an online book group, learn new skills or start using Amazon. To see the bright look that comes over their faces when they see the potential of being online is really satisfying. It also does wonders for people’s mental health and makes a big dent in feelings of social isolation.”