Lambeth TechAid was organised in response to the Covid-19 lockdown, which amplified the digital divide within society. Overnight, access to a device and the internet at home became essential to communicate with friends & family, to access educational resources and essential online services, and to combat isolation.
We aim to help bridge the digital divide in Lambeth by supplying smart phones, tablets and computers to children and adults who would not otherwise be able to obtain them.
What We Do
We collect unwanted devices, ensure all data is removed and they are in good working order, and then deliver them to local organisations such as schools, women’s aid groups, and refugee and other community organisations to pass on to the people they work with who need them.
In order to respond to as broad a range of requests as possible, we ask that organisations limit each request to no more than 5 devices in total. Following delivery of these, the requesting organisation is then welcome to submit another request for up to 5 more devices. There is no limit to the number of requests they can submit but we ask that they wait for an outstanding request to be filled before submitting a further request.
Who We Are
TechAid’s management group includes a retired LSE IT training specialist and charity trustee, a programme manager, a civil servant, IT professionals and more. We are all volunteering in a personal capacity. Without substantive funding, we work out of our own homes, and depend on donations of devices and volunteers’ time to prepare and deliver mobiles, tablets and laptops to those who genuinely need them.
The group met for the first time online on 23 March. We now have more than 25 active volunteers, organised into 8 teams:
- Management: lead and coordinate the work of the various teams and the organisation as a whole
- Donations: coordinate donations and assign them to the technical team
- Distribution: respond to and fill requests for devices
- Fundraising & Business Liaison: networking, building collaborative relationships with like-minded organisations, seek & pursue funding and donation leads
- Publicity: manage social media and other means to maintain a steady flow of donations and volunteers into TechAid
- Technical devices remove data and update donated equipment
- Volunteer management & Transport: collect and deliver devices
- Website & Database: maintain and further develop our website and database
To date, we’ve had donations of more than 160 devices, with no end to the need in sight. School students, young people leaving the care system, women identified by women’s aid groups, housing association residents, refugees and families with “No Recourse to Public Funds’’ all have received devices from us. Many more requests are in the pipeline. All recipients have been identified by local schools, charities and voluntary groups. Additional requests from other organisations are in the queue, and we believe that there is a considerably wider need for technology and internet access amongst Lambeth’s diverse communities.
To date, the following organisations are on our current or pending recipients’ list:
- Age UK Lambeth
- Archbishop Tenison’s School
- Carers Hub Lambeth
- Clear Community Web (digital skills for people served by community groups)
- Cottington Close RMO (Resident Managed Organisation)
- Dunraven Educational Trust
- Elmgreen School
- IRMO (Indoamerican Refugee Migrant Organization)
- Lambeth Family Action SEND
- Lambeth Mutual Aid
- LEAP Overcrowded housing service
- London Cyrenians Housing (supported accommodation)
- London Nautical School
- Sister System (support young women who are Looked After Children or Care Leavers)
- Solace Women’s Aid
- South London Cares (supporting seniors suffering social isolation)
- Streatham Drop-In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees
- Waterloo Action Centre
Requests from other organisations are on our waiting list.