Your RORA idea: Could old computers breathe new life into communities?

Reader Jenny Mindell wonders whether community projects to recycle old computers could be good for more than just the environment


I have just ordered a new computer to replace my seven-year-old one. The current one works perfectly and could easily be used by someone in the ‘Catch 22’ described in the recent edition [1432] of The Big Issue.

I have had to change it because it uses an operating system that is no longer secure so I am not allowed to log on through a VPN to my university to access shared folders.

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I thought that if someone can arrange collection points or collect them directly then:

  • People like me could donate unwanted but usable computer (or other) equipment
  • People with IT skills who are on furlough or are retired could volunteer their time to update these or to train others to do so
  • Unemployed people (but not necessarily ballet dancers!) could be given IT skills to learn how to repair or update computers
  • People who don’t have a computer but need one to apply for jobs or to do schoolwork or university course work during lockdown could be given these computers as a gift or on longterm loan.

Maybe the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation would donate Windows 10 operating systems and/or Microsoft Office software? Or sell it at a substantial reduction? I’d be happy to pay for mine to be updated but having bought a replacement, it can still go to someone who needs it.

Jenny Mindell

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