More community computers set for Harlow

Communities / Fri 20th Dec 2013 at 09:00am

computerIN just under a year Essex County Council has donated more than 700 computers worth over £34,000 to charities and voluntary groups across the county.

The desktops and laptops have been given to community organisations for free under the Community Computing Scheme, showing support for the work they do to help local people through the provision of equipment which is very much in demand.

The scheme was created alongside Essex County Council’s Information Services Modernisation Programme, which as it has evolved has produced a number of computer devices that no longer meet the business needs of the council. The devices that are no longer required are cleaned of all data and then charity licensed software is loaded ready to be re-used. This incurs no cost to Essex County Council.

Since the launch of the Community Computing Scheme in January 2013, a total of 527 laptops and 182 desktop computers have been donated to community groups in Essex as a result of 206 requests for equipment.

Essex County Councillor John Jowers, Cabinet Member for Libraries, Communities and Planning, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to fulfil all the requests for computer equipment which have been received to date and great to know the difference this is making to these groups and their day to day working.

“I’m pleased to see old equipment being put to good use for the benefit of the community and I hope there will be plenty more who will make the most of this opportunity.”

It is hoped the offer of free computers will help to directly support Essex residents to increase confidence in using technology and provide access to the internet for those who may not otherwise have such an opportunity. Some examples of groups which can benefit from the scheme include organisations that manage pre and/or after school clubs, and older people schemes for ICT literacy.

Community Computing has also gone some way to helping increasing employment, education and training of young people in Essex by providing 10 computers to Essex County Council’s Skills Team for young people to use to improve their IT skills. The equipment is being used in Tech Jam sessions set up to help young people increase their digital skills and capabilities which they can then offer to potential employers or indeed use to become self-employed. Tech Jam forms part of a wider set of projects aimed at supporting the digital sector in Essex, as part of our commitment to the Essex Economic Growth Strategy.

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