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ITVET helps to plug laptops shortage for disadvantaged Bishop's Stortford schoolchildren by recycling old devices

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A Bishop's Stortford tech company is recycling obsolete laptops to help disadvantaged children in the town keep up with school from home.

ITVET is appealing for donations of unwanted laptops so its team can refurbish the devices and pass them on to local schools.

Schools now have a legal obligation to provide access to remote education to children required to stay at home because of coronavirus.

IT VET, London Road, Bishops Stortford. Exterior. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43205345)
IT VET, London Road, Bishops Stortford. Exterior. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43205345)

The Department for Education has pledged to provide laptops to any disadvantaged schoolchildren shielding, as well as those in Years 3 to 11 on free school meals who do not have laptops if their face-to-face education is disrupted.

But following reports that access to these laptops had been cut at some schools – with some receiving only 20% of the devices they were promised – ITVET director Richard Fountain launched a campaign. "Given the demand, it seemed like the right thing to do," he said.

While it costs his company to fix the laptops – as well as staffing costs, the team might need to replace hard drives, broken keys and other parts – Richard says the project is a "no-brainer".

View Through Bedroom Door As Father Helps Daughter Using Laptop On Desk To Do Homework. (43205449)
View Through Bedroom Door As Father Helps Daughter Using Laptop On Desk To Do Homework. (43205449)

"We've always tried to operate as sustainably as possible," he said. "The more we can keep laptops in good use is a win-win. It's good for the environment and good for the schools."

Since reaching out to Stortford schools to ascertain the level of demand, Richard estimates ITVET has been able to meet only 10% of the local need since he launched the campaign earlier in November. "A couple of the schools have said they'll take as many as they can get," he said.

Richard hopes to inspire other local businesses to do their bit to help schoolchildren in need, either by donating laptops to ITVET for refurbishment or providing grants to schools so they can buy new devices. "People are generous and people are willing to help," he said.

While the ITVET team are able to clinically wipe any hard drives that remain in laptops, some businesses might prefer to remove these parts themselves before donating the devices; ITVET will gladly receive these and replace them with new parts.

Anyone who can donate a laptop to ITVET can drop them off at the technology solutions provider's office just off London Road. Visit www.itvet.co.uk or www.facebook.com/itvetuk for more details.

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