Laptop scheme helping Surrey pupils hits 500 milestone

A Surrey scheme to help disadvantaged students to learn online has hit an impressive milestone.

Raven is leading an initiative to refurbish hundreds of unwanted laptop computers and distribute them to children and young people who need them, as well as some Raven customers who cannot afford to purchase their own laptop or tablet.

The scheme, called ‘Level Up Redhill Reigate Banstead’ has now handed over 500 laptops to 11 schools, donated from individuals, villages and businesses throughout the county.

“This is an amazing achievement considering we only launched this scheme a few months ago,” explained Steve Ward, digital inclusion officer at Raven Housing Trust, which manages around 7,000 affordable homes in Surrey and Sussex.

“Unfortunately, some people can’t afford vital IT equipment and so we are helping the disadvantaged families who are missing out.

“We took inspiration from a successful scheme in Horley called ‘Level Up’ which provides laptops to primary pupils and, working closely with Voluntary Action Reigate & Banstead’ decided to roll this out into Redhill, Reigate and Banstead and to target primary and secondary schools and colleges.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response to our appeal, which is still on-going. We aim to have 600 into schools by Easter, and 1,000 by the end of the year, and the recipients are absolutely delighted with the donations.

“And of course as we are reusing existing equipment this is significantly cheaper than buying new laptops and is better for the environment,” Steve added.

To see what this means to the children, please see this video from St Matthew's, Redhill to say A big "Thank You"

The computers are completely refurbished by a team of 20 volunteer IT experts who also replace and dispose of the hard drive to ensure data protection.

Collection points have been set up through local schools and Marks and Spencer and the initiative is also being supported financially and with staff resources by Raven, Pfizer and Fidelity.

Anyone interested in donating or receiving a laptop should go to www.varb.or.uk/level-up or email levelup@ravenht.org.uk