Trafford Council are selling cheap refurbished laptops to families in need

Trafford Council are selling low cost refurbished laptops to families in need in a bid to tackle digital exclusion.

Trafford Council is offering hundreds of families with the lowest income in the borough, laptops and SIM cards as part of a campaign to take on digital exclusion. 

Some of the most disadvantaged families in the area will be awarded 250 low-cost refurbished devices in the Trafford Tech4All campaign. The council, alongside L&Q housing association, will also sell heavily discounted refurbished laptops for £60.

Discounted broadband provided by Virgin Media O2, and free O2 SIM cards will be available in four community pop-up shops across Trafford. The operator has also already donated laptops to the recently refurbished IT suite at the St. John’s Centre in Timperley. 

Locations include: 

  • St John’s Centre Timperley, Wednesday 29 May (1pm – 4pm)  
  • Lostock Library, Wednesday, Trafford,  12 June (3.30pm – 6pm)  
  • Altrincham Library, Thursday 27 June (2pm – 5pm)  
  • Sale Waterside, Wednesday 3 July (2pm – 5pm)

Those claiming Universal Credit, housing benefit, child tax credit or some kind of financial support will be eligible to purchase a device. 

Click here for a list of the full criteria. 

Councillor Liz Patel says: “It is very important that all residents throughout our borough are able to get online to help them stay connected with friends, access the internet and look for work. That is why the community pop-up shops are so vitally important in helping those struggling to get online.”

Danny Sutherland, Workplace Technologies Analyst at L&Q adds:  “ We are delighted to support this campaign, which is bringing digital inclusion to the people who need it most.”.

The Impact of Digital Exclusion

Digital exclusion is defined by the UK Government as ‘sections of the population not being able to use the internet in ways that are needed to participate fully in modern society’. Factors that contribute to digital exclusion in households include affordability of internet access and technology, adequate internet connection and those who lack the digital skills or confidence to navigate the online environment. 

In a study by Lloyds bank in 2023, 2.1 million people are affected by digital exclusion in the UK and do not have full access to the internet of digital devices. 13% of those living in the UK, 6.8 million people, have been identified to have low digital skills, which means it is hard for them to improve their digital engagement. These are often those earning lower incomes or in an older age group. 

How this compares to Trafford as an area is unclear, but according to the Trafford Poverty Strategy by Trafford Council,  over 5000 children under the age of 16 are living in ‘absolute’ low income households.

The House of Lords and the Digital Select Committee published a report in June 2023 about the relationship between digital exclusion and the cost of living crisis, claiming that over 1 million people who have cut back or cancelled their internet packages due to affordability, and estimates that £63 billion is lost every year due to digital skills shortages. The report claims that basic digital skills are set to become the UK’s largest skills gap by 2030.  

Cover Photo credit: Unsplash