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Laptop appeal to help Ukrainian refugee families stay connected

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An Island charity is appealing for second-hand laptops to help Ukrainian refugees stay connected.

'Laptops for Ukraine' is being coordinated by the Isle of Wight PC User Group.

For more 20 years the group has quietly gone about reconditioning and recycling used computer hardware — equipment that is then donated to those in need in the community.

To date, more than 400 Islanders have benefited from the 'Computability' project.

Recently they have turned their skills and expertise to supporting the Island's Ukrainian guests, many of whom arrive on the Island with little more than a mobile phone and a few possessions.

The use of a laptop can help children who have relocated to the Island to continue being educated online by their schools, they can help older individuals search for work and attend online courses.

They can also just be the difference between people being able to stay in touch with their families back home or not — a real lifeline.

Roger Skidmore, from the group, said: "In today's connected world a mobile phone just isn't enough.

"People need the versatility and power of a laptop to do the job of communicating and recording their new life in a strange country where they probably don't speak the language.

"We're looking for laptops that are less than ten years old. A computer of this age, when equipped with a new solid state drive and a bit more memory, can still give performance sufficient to fulfil the needs of our Ukrainian guests managing far from home.

“We don’t expect people to donate new equipment. But if any businesses or individuals have built up a surplus of laptops they no longer use then these would be really appreciated.

"To date, our group has added 17 Ukrainian guests to the list of those we have helped. More laptops are needed and a few more technical volunteers to form a support network across the Island."

Rosty, 15, whose family is staying with Councillor Chris Jarman and his wife Barbara, said the laptop had enabled him to stay connected with his school in Ukraine.

He said: "It has been important to continue my lessons and to do my exams online. Being able to contact friends and relatives is important when we are so far away from home and in a different place.

"I am very pleased with my laptop." 

Councillor Jarman added: "I would like to thank the Isle of Wight PC User Group for the fantastic work they do in recycling computer equipment.

"My Ukrainian guest families have a free desktop and a free laptop from the scheme and both are actively used. 

"These computers have the ability to literally change lives and I have no doubt that some of this donated technology will do just that."

If you have a device that you no longer need and would be happy for them to clean and recycle, please contact them on (01983) 822900 or 07732 480201, or email: rogerskid@zen.co.uk 

For more information, visit: https://laptops-for-ukrainians.weebly.com

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