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School donates laptops to help vulnerable in South London

A London school has teamed up with a social enterprise to help the isolated stay connected during the pandemic with free laptops.

The partnership was announced by High View Primary School in the South London Borough of Sutton, and SocialBox.Biz, a tech social enterprise. The announcement is part of SocialBox’s ongoing scheme to provide free laptops to the vulnerable in order to reduce loneliness during lockdown.

While many of us have taken for granted our ability to stay connected with friends and family online the past few months, many people in the UK still do not have access to this technology.

According to Age UK, more than 50% of ‘digitally excluded’ people are over the age of 65. And, while the COVID-19 restrictions have eased for most of us in the UK, many people, including over-70s, are being advised to shield from the virus until 1 August.

The scheme is available to the elderly, as well as refugees and the homeless, which the social enterprise says is vital to allow people to socialise online and order basic necessities such as groceries.

SocialBox’s founder Peter Paduh, who came to the UK as a refugee from the Balkans in the 1990s, said:

The Laptops for the Homeless and Vulnerable Initiative empowers disadvantaged people and promotes the principle of self-determination via access to the internet. For some people who are already isolated, like the elderly, this is the only contact they may have with the outside world.

SocialBox is calling on other schools and universities to help reduce digital exclusion by donating their old laptops to the scheme. The tech social enterprise has also recently teamed up with schools in Enfield in North London, and Guilford in Surrey.

Peter added:

We want everyone interested to get involved in this initiative so we can make a big impact on our community in the future. COVID-19 has highlighted we need to do even more to help the vulnerable in society.

My first break coming to the UK as a refugee was receiving a free computer so I know from personal experience what a difference it can make.

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Image by Social Box

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