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Wharfedale device donations reduce digital divide

Climate Action Ilkley member (left) delivers tech to Gael Timbers (right) from Digital Access West Yorkshire

44 unwanted technical devices were donated by 28 Wharfedale households & organisations for redistribution to people who lacked digital access.

This second local device-collection and redistribution drive has provided an ongoing supply of laptops, tablets & phones that enable children and adults to connect, work, learn by getting online. 

Climate Action Ilkley coordinated the tech collection in a Covid-safe manner, with pick-ups & drop-offs being made during daily exercise and shopping trips. The devices included 20 laptops, 12 tablets and 2 desktop computers, which were all taken to Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds for wiping by the volunteer technical team at Digital Access West Yorkshire. They have been redistributed by both them and their Bradford-based partners Solidaritech, to people or schools referred to them from across the two districts.

Gael Timbers of Digital Access West Yorkshire, who gratefully received the donations from Climate Action Ilkley, reported that within a few days of the first drop-off, one of the Ilkley iPads had gone to a 12-year-old boy. He wanted a device of his own to help him to write down his feelings, so he could communicate more with his adoptive parents. On receipt he said words to the effect of “That’s so kind; thank you!” Most devices have gone straight to schools and colleges, including Carlton Bolling College in Bradford, to enable pupils to access remote learning. The two E-readers have gone to a care home, whilst previous donations have also gone to organisations including Women’s Health Matters, Refugee Council, Touchstone and RETAS.

Local schools in Wharfedale in need of additional devices have been offered support to run their own device drives or to make device referral requests, to ensure that donor’s personal security and child safeguarding are maintained. Meanwhile a primary school in Leeds got in touch with Digital Access West Yorkshire for some help. “First they made a referral and then we worked out together that we could help to repurpose their older and dormant laptops. Now they know what's possible, they're doing it with their own tech support.”

Climate Action Ilkley will continue working together with Digital Access West Yorkshire to help connect communities and families across Leeds and Bradford. “Keeping devices in use for as long as practicable and keeping them out of landfill is an important part of aiming to achieve a circular economy, in addition to aiming to reduce the ever-increasing digital divide.” Anyone wishing to donate a device can email techcollection@climateactionilkley.org.uk or look at their campaigns’ webpage for further details.

If you don’t have a device to give but would like to help increase digital access, primarily through purchasing laptops for schools, you can donate to Digital Access West Yorkshire’s crowdfunding campaign: https://accesswy.org/crowdfunding-for-laptops-for-children-in-west-yorkshire/ 


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