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Digital Futures – tackling digital exclusion

Find out how to donate laptops to help children and young people access education during the pandemic

Published: 16 February 2021

Last updated: 16 February 2021

Tackling digital exclusion

An estimated 9% of families in the UK do not have a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. In Westminster, research has shown that in some schools 35-45% of children either had no access to the internet or relied on one shared family smartphone for access. The pandemic has made this digital divide even more stark and has shown that digital access is not a luxury but a necessity.

Working with local schools, our short-term goal is to make sure that all children in Westminster schools have access to a device to support their home education.

The Council has already provided over 1,500 devices since Christmas and we are now looking for further support from local businesses, as well as individuals and partners, to provide donations of both laptops and funding to purchase more devices. Our initial target for April 2021 is to meet all current school needs and a surplus ready for coming months. Our target is to secure laptops or funding for an additional 500 devices.

If your organisation wants to join the effort to end digital exclusion in Westminster, please get in touch.

How you can help

Donate a laptop

If you would like to donate a laptop to Digital Futures please complete this form.

Make a financial contribution

If you would like to make a financial contribution please contact [email protected]

Further information

What will my support provide?

For every £250 donated, we can provide approximately one device.

Any donation you can offer will help connect a young person to their future and help to bridge the digital divide in Westminster.

Who do we help?

Our current focus (to the end of April 2021) will be to help young people on Free School Meals or anyone identified by a Westminster school as being from a disadvantaged background and without a device at home. We aim to meet the needs of different school age groups and to support a number of schools.

If there are additional devices or funds we will distribute devices to other groups who need them. This would include, but is not limited to, job seekers, adult learners, adults with disabilities, as well as anyone identified by our front line services teams.

What laptops are we accepting via donations? 

We can only accept donated laptops which are capable of running Windows 10, this means that each laptop must have the below minimum specifications: 

Each laptop must: 

  • Have at least a 4th Generation Processor
    • You can find this out on your laptop by going to Settings > System > About > Processor - the generation will be the first digit after the processor name and type, for example Intel® Core™ i5-4670 Processor would be a 4th generation processor 
  • Have at least 4GB RAM 
    • You can find this out on your laptop by going to Settings > System > About > Installed RAM 
  • Have at least 128 GB HDD 
    • You can find this out on your laptop by going to Settings > System > Storage > Disk (C:) - XXX GB 

If you don’t know the specifications of your laptop please contact [email protected]

How do I donate my laptop

You will be required to drop any donated laptops off at City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QP. Donations must be made between 9am-2pm on weekdays so that we can process them.

Donated laptops must:

  • Be appropriately packaged, for example in a box or laptop bag
  • Clearly labelled with your name, the number of laptops being donated, and your unique reference number (you will receive this via email once your donation form has been accepted)

Will my donated laptop be safe and how does it work in terms of the quality & assurance on any data & security?

Your laptops will be tracked and monitored throughout the whole of process from the completion of your donation form, to the delivery of a cleaned, refurbished laptop to schools or families in need.

Trusted council officers and external partner, EOL IT Services will ensure the safe handling of all laptops throughout the process.

All data will be stored and processed in line with GDPR and internal policies using our secure network. You can find more information on our data protection policy, and our fair processing notice.

All laptops will be completely wiped and refurbished before being delivered to schools and families.

If you are also experiencing issues with your connectivity which is preventing you from home schooling then please see the free broadband offers to help with home schooling in Westminster