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Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Gain FREE Computers

28th December 2012

Photograph of Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Gain FREE Computers

History detectives, silver surfers, internet trainees, primary pupils and vulnerable youngsters are all benefiting from a project to give new life to redundant computers.

The renovation has seen over 250 PCs, laptops, tablets and printers saved from landfill and put to use by charities and community groups across the Highlands.

The recycling project is a spin-off from technology company Fujitsus programme to replace and upgrade The Highland Councils office and schools IT systems and help reduce its energy use and carbon emissions.

Fujitsu is investing over 300,000 to have up to 3,500 pieces of equipment processed by specialist Forres-based social enterprise ReBoot and then distributed to deserving causes.

Among those to benefit recently are Inverness-based charity Birchwood Highland; the Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company in Caithness; Helmsdale and District Community Association in Sutherland; Aviemore Community Childrens Group and the Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH) in Dingwall.

Fujitsus Scotland Country Director Public Sector, Brodie Shepherd, said: This is a great new and productive use for this equipment in the Highlands, where we see community wellbeing as a vital part of our involvement here as we look to help grow business in the information technology sector.

Councillor Dave Fallows, chairman of The Highland Councils finance, housing and resources committee, added: Recycling our redundant IT equipment in this way makes economic and environmental sense and provides significant benefits to community groups across the whole Highlands.

It is a very worthwhile spin-off from the upgrade programme and I am delighted these items are being put to such good use.

A gift of ten recycled office laptops has helped Helmsdale and District Community Association meet growing demand for IT training by providing practical hands-on classes across a wide age range, including video-link lunch clubs for elderly people.

Community association company secretary Valerie George said: Demand has been great from young mums to a lady in her 80s but we have cut through the waiting list for beginner and intermediate classes, and are running a project to database Christmas card envelope labels. We are even planning a project to link up our lunch club at the community centre with others in the area through internet video-conferencing.

Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company, which snapped up eight laptops, a PC and a printer, is also running internet training for a growing number of residents, along with word processing, use of spreadsheets and digital photographic editing at their Lybster resource centre to a new level for local people and also those in the Berriedale and Dunbeath Community Council area.

Company secretary Eric Larnach said: We deliver a variety of valuable community activities, from gardening to first aid, but this has enabled us to expand our courses to include genealogy, healthy eating, job search, computing and the internet to help local people develop up-to-the-minute skills and techniques for domestic, business and recreation purposes.

Six refurbished laptops are helping ARCH to provide computer-based training in response to increasing interest across the area in exploring local history and heritage.

The group has radically revamped its courses and workshops for hundreds of people at venues from Sutherland to Skye and Nairnshire to Lochaber as a result of the gift.

ARCH Project Officer Susan Kruse said: In teaching how to use the internet to research subjects like family history, ancient buildings, events and culture, we had to make do with presentations using static screenshots, but now we are able to work with groups in live on-line activity to develop investigative skills and really appreciate the wealth of material available from a range of sources.

Primary pupils attending daily after-school sessions at Aviemore Community Childrens Group are gaining practical experience of on-line commerce and food budgeting through hands-on access to five recycled laptops.

Donna Shaw, the ACCG manager, said: The batch of five laptops we received has opened a huge new window for our children by enabling a variety of real-life educational and recreational opportunities.

Apart from investigating topics for homework, we intend to implement supervised exercises such as working out and placing online snack orders within a budget. This would give them early life commercial experience.

Inverness-based Birchwood Highland has received three laptops and two printers. The charity supports people with mental ill-health and helps others live independently as part of the community.

Pete Mulvey, Project Manager of Birchwoods recently-launched Aspire 2 Be (A2B) project, said two of the laptops have been allocated to A2B which will be working with young adults who are known to the criminal justice system but require some additional support to help integrate into their communities.

The laptops will help staff to work away from the office base while also allowing the young people to use them in their personal development and job search activities.

The other laptop and printers are being allocated to Birchwoods 113 service users for employment-related training such as CV writing, researching, and job hunting.

Allan Trappitt, (centre) Fujitsus service delivery manager with Highland Councils service management team.

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