When looking for some IT support in Manchester, I hit the web – as you do – and started with the usual type of searches. While the results pages threw up the usual types of results that you would expect, including a half-page of nothing but paid adverts (that’s Google for you though), there were a few nuggets of gold too.
One site that caught our eye was My Outsourced IT, and not necessarily for the reasons that you might be thinking either. As the title of this post suggests, the company runs a scheme whereby they offer a free computer to every home that needs one.
We ourselves had no need of the more than generous scheme, but we know of plenty of homes and families that do.
The free computer in every home project
The whole project is just amazing, going much further than ‘just’ providing free computers to homes that have the need for it. As the project leader, Andy Young, says the Greater Manchester project was set up to provide “laptops and computers to digitally excluded families via taking in donations and refurbishing them”.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it really is. So far, the project has helped over 200 digitally excluded families in Greater Manchester. They have done this by providing donated computers, including laptops, that they themselves have refurbished and also by providing support and classes so that the families can get up and running.
Projects like this are important, because too many people, especially the younger generation, are being left behind in the digital age through no fault of their own. This obviously has a long-term, negative effect. My Outsourced IT has a post on digital exclusion that can explain this much better, and why it is important that this issue be addressed.
Another thing that impressed, is the fact that the project is recognised, endorsed and supported by Greater Manchester City Council. That’s the kind of endorsement that encourages when thinking of making a donation to the project.
Andy says donations are always gratefully accepted, and can come in three different flavours:
• Time (helping with workshops or refurbishments, for example) • Hardware • Cash donations
Personally, I think the majority of businesses across Greater Manchester (and further afield for that matter) are in a position to at least donate hardware (they stress that hard drives are removed and returned to the owner, never repurposed).
Every year, equipment is replaced or otherwise upgraded. Instead of spending money having these recycled, they could very easily be donated to projects like My Outsourced IT instead.
Check it out and see what you think, especially if you live in Greater Manchester.