Unwanted or out-of-date laptops are being sought from businesses to help combat isolation and improve IT skills among carers and older people across Bradford, Airedale and Ilkley..
The Carers’ Resource, which supports unpaid carers and has an office in Shipley, is calling for people to donate their old or broken laptops so they can be rebuilt for its clients.
The charity’s CReate service – which focuses on boosting carers’ confidence, enhancing their skills and help them return to work or training – runs free weekly IT workshops for Bradford Airedale and Ilkley carers.
And it now has a team of experienced IT volunteers who can visit clients at home to give one-to-one tuition, help people get online and make full use of their computers.
They will also be demonstrating what can be done with a laptop for those who are unsure whether to invest in a computer and go online.
Stella Elson, CReate manager at the Carers’ Resource office in St Paul’s Road, Shipley, said: “Part of this new project is about giving carers and older people the one-to-one support they need to help them overcome their IT problems and to boost their confidence in using a computer.
“This can be down to a lack of knowledge, the fact they’ve never been shown how to do something, or that they physically can’t get out to our workshops or computer clubs.
“It may be that someone has a new laptop and they’re not sure how to set it up, or that someone needs an email account setting up, whatever the issue, our excellent volunteers are here to help.”
The second part of the scheme is to provide carers and older people, who otherwise would not be able to afford one, with free laptops to help them keep in touch with others.
IT volunteer Steve Powell, who runs the workshops every Tuesday and every third Thursday, 12pm to 2pm, at the Carers’ Resource, said: “There is so much that people can do online to help their everyday life – from ordering their shopping to emailing and chatting with relatives across the world – and people are just a click away, once they know how.
“If people don’t want to go on the internet they can also use their computer to simply document memories, such as photographs, and again we can help people learn how to download and catalogue photographs.”
IT volunteer Simon Johnson said: “We will also be able to show people how to use the internet safely and make sure they have the right anti-virus software in place.”
The project has been supported by a £2,500 Community Fund grant from Aspire-i.
Communities Manager Arif Awan said: “Aspire-I is really pleased to be supporting Carers’ Resource with this project through our Community Fund.
“We recognise that carers often have difficulty in accessing help to improve their IT skills, and how much contact through a computer can help people feel less isolated in their daily life.”
Carolyne Coyle, Communications and Inclusion Co-ordinator at the Carers’ Resource, said: “We also have our online Caring Callers forum where various topics are discussed among carers and clients, our Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our website where people can find out about what’s on offer.”
Any unwanted laptops can be donated to the Carers’ Resource office, Unit 15, Park View Court, St Paul’s Road, Shipley, during office hours: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays.
Broken equipment can also be used for parts. All hard drives will be wiped.
For more details about the CReate laptop scheme, IT workshops or home visits contact Stella Elson on (01274) 449660, email firstname.lastname@example.org