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More than 130 computers to be donated to help those most in need

Last updated: 09/02/2021

More than 130 computers are to be donated for free by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) to help those most in need in Bristol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UHBW, which runs a number of hospitals including the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, is initially donating 135 devices to Bristol City Council for its Digital Inclusion scheme.

The laptops and PCs, which are being donated from the Digital Services department in Bristol, are no longer powerful enough to run the hospital’s digital systems or to provide the level of security needed for our information but are more than good enough to be used by people who will be benefiting from the scheme.

The hospital trust is committed to donating more laptops or PCs each month for the foreseeable future, as they are replaced when they are no longer powerful enough for the Trust’s digital systems or to provide the level of security needed for our information.

The new scheme will see partners and organisations taking a One City approach, working together across the city to help promote digital inclusion and is aiming to recycle and re-distribute 3,600 council laptops, in an effort to reduce digital poverty in the city.

Launching this week in south Bristol, the Digital Inclusion pilot scheme will see the first 50 refurbished laptops going to parents of two-year-olds without digital access who would like to return to further education and to develop their skills to apply for work. Other identified priority groups include unemployed people aged 19 plus with few or no qualifications, vulnerable older people at risk of social isolation and young people aged 16-19 (up to 25 with an Education Health Care Plan) not in education, training or employment.

The council will also provide some internet data and free digital skills introductory courses so that people are able to make the most of their new devices.

Tolu Awofisayo, deputy chief information officer and head of digital programmes at UHBW, said: “We appreciate that it’s a very challenging time at the moment and we’re delighted to be able to help those most in need by providing computers that we are no longer able to make use of at UHBW.

“We are pleased to be working with Bristol City Council and partners across the city to help distribute these devices to people who will benefit and hope the laptops and PCs that we are donating will, over time, help hundreds of people in the city to stay connected and find new opportunities.”

All of the devices will be appropriately wiped and refurbished before distribution so they contain no NHS data and are suitable to be used by people experiencing digital poverty.

Councillor Anna Keen, cabinet lead for education and skills at Bristol City Council, said: “We know that the ability to access digital devices and the internet is incredibly important - now more than ever. This new scheme will see partners and organisations taking a One City approach, working together across the city to help promote digital inclusion. This scheme is designed to reach out to those people in our communities whose financial and personal lives have been hit hard by the pandemic, and help them bridge the digital divide, stay connected and find new opportunities."

For more information on the council Digital Inclusion scheme email: digital.inclusion@bristol.gov.uk