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Global fashion chain donates laptops to help empower homeless and refugees

British global fashion chain New Look has donated more than 1,000 laptops and computers, as part of a scheme to help some of the most vulnerable in society.

The laptops, computers and other tech items, such as smartphones, were delivered to several UK charities just before Christmas, including The Passage, C4WS and Migrant Help.

The donations are part of a wider project run by social enterprise SocialBox.Biz, founded by former child refugee Peter Paduh, to help tackle digital exclusion among the homeless, refugees and the elderly.

Mohammed*, a client of charity The Passage who received one of the laptops, said that the donation would allow him to look for online courses and find voluntary work to help rebuild his confidence.

Mohammed commented:

I am currently seeking asylum in the UK after experiencing extremely traumatic events in my home country, which have led to me suffering with PTSD. I am waiting for my UK status from the Home Office and can now start planning my future here, using the laptop you have given to me. I feel hopeful for the future again.

Peter Paduh, 43, chairman and founder of SocialBox.Biz, said it he was pleased to see New Look “leading by example” to help bridge the digital divide in the UK.

Peter said:

At more than 1,000 items, this is the largest donation we have ever received. I can’t underestimate what a difference donations like this will make to the millions of people who don’t have access to technology and the internet.

The social enterprise recently launched its ‘business heroes’ scheme, which aims to recruit 100 business partners to help tackle digital inequality over the next couple of years. Previous donors include Legal & General, Aviva, the CBI and the Mayor of London.

Sue Fairley, head of sustainability at New Look, said:

Donating our old laptops to SocialBox.Biz made complete sense for New Look. It allowed us to dispose of our unused laptops in a secure way, whilst supporting a social cause and our commitment to circularity.

* name changed for the safety and confidentiality of this person.