November 2020 update by Heather
The team at SocialBox.Biz is proud to present the various updates and case studies we’ve accumulated lately!
Local Leaders Advocate for Digital Inclusion
The House of Lords and local elected members across parties recently signed a letter encouraging initiatives to repurpose used laptops with open source software and place them into the hands of people in accommodation services. The SocialBox.Biz team is helping raise awareness while sparking action for digital inclusion now more than ever. Corporate Social Responsibility News Today covered this news: https://csr.einnews.com/pr_news/528061266/uk-politicians-across-parties-working-together-to-fight-social-exclusion-with-re-used-tech
SocialBox.Biz Initiative also received backing from charities, including Age UK, British Red Cross and Centrepoint, and business leaders:
Computer Software Company Further Endorses SocialBox.Biz Laptops for Homeless Initiative
One of computer software company partners finds they routinely have an excess of old laptops. “Rather than scrap usable laptops, we wanted to reuse them to ensure that they go to better use,” said the company. This company is working to build a culture of giving back, and when they have to upgrade to new laptops every year or so, they are looking forward to partnering with SocialBox.Biz to provide donations to people in need on an ongoing basis.
Mazars donating over 1,000 items of hardware from offices across the UK
Harriet Walker, Sustainability Executive from Mazars said: “At Mazars we are committed to ensuring that as little of our waste as possible, goes to landfill. Through partnering with SocialBox.Biz, and donating over 1,000 items of hardware from our offices across the UK, we have contributed towards their Laptops for Homeless, Refugees, and Older People in Isolation campaign. We are proud to support such a worthwhile initiative, and pleased that we could give our items a second lease of life!”
Latest Case Studies
British Red Cross Restitution Service Case Studies
One of our accommodations providers has forwarded a number of case studies as further proof that our hard work is paying off!
Sonia, a 27 year old Nigerian asylum seeking woman receives support from the British Red Cross through the Women in Crisis project. Sonia has a young daughter in nursery school, which will give her more time to complete her own education. With her laptop, Sonia will be able to do her maths level 2 and English functional skills level 2. Completing her education will allow Sonia to better integrate into society and build a life for both her and her daughter in the UK.
Gifty, a 32 year old Ghanaian asylum seeking woman receiving support from the British Red Cross through the Refugee Services in London, will use her laptop to continue her advance diploma in accounting. “I would like to show my appreciation for what your organisation did for me when I needed help,” said Gifty. “Due to COVID-19, all our lessons have been via Zoom, and I was using my phone, which was not he best option for me. All the other students have laptops, and I was the only one left without one, which made studying difficult because I needed to carry out my spreadsheet assignments. As an asylum seeker, I contacted the British Red Cross for assistance, and within three weeks, they were able to get me one via your generous donation. I cannot express how happy I have been since I received the laptop. I can connect online with my class. Now, I carry on with my course without any limitations. When I finish my course and obtain my certificate, I will always remember it was possible because of your donation. Thank you very much and may God bless you and the Red Cross.”
A Case Study From New Horizon Youth Centre
*The name in this case study has been changed due to privacy concerns.
Juanita has been working with New Horizon Youth Centre for 6 months. She presented at the centre with nowhere to go; her mother had passed away, and she lost the house they were living in. Juanita was depressed and isolated, but some intense work and advocacy saw her placed in a short-term hostel. She was studying full time at college in film production, where she had access to IT equipment. When COVID-19 struck, Juanita found herself suddenly locked down in a room without a computer, unable to continue her studies, which were now being remotely delivered online. SocialBox.Biz provided a reconditioned laptop for Juanita, which was delivered via courier. This donation has helped her continue her studies, keep in contact with friends, and remain on-track for her goal of becoming a film producer. Jaunita completed her course and now has a level 2 in film production. She looks forward to the future and recently applied for an ITV apprenticeship, which she would have otherwise forfeited without a laptop.
Centre 404 Charity for People with Learning Disabilities Reducing Digital Exclusion
Our team has received several case studies from one of our accommodations partners, a token of how much our initiative is truly helping those in need.
Carer, a 73 year old woman living in Camden, will use her laptop to access online activities such as yoga at Centre 404, as well as other events running online at Age UK, Career Hub, and more.
Ms. T is the mother and primary caregiver of two sons with autism. Her youngest, who is 11 years old, needs significant support to help regulate his emotions. He has substantial cognitive, social, and communication difficulties. In addition to high and
complex sensory needs, his anxieties and stress have greatly increased during the pandemic. He frequently displays challenging behaviours when anxious and stressed. He will throw himself around and needs support so as not to bite himself or others, pull hair, or scratch. His current laptop is broken, and he needs his own to access online activities, school activities, and games. Having a laptop will help him destress by engaging him in meaningful online activities and games. This would also give Ms. T a break, a way to shop online, the means to connect with friends, and more. A free laptop would also help her family pay for other essentials, such as groceries and bills, without sliding into debt.
Ms. CH is a single parent living in Enfield with a 4 year old son. She has limited access to the internet and would like a laptop to access more online services, information, and advice. The laptop would also likely benefit her son with access to safe online activities and more.
Ms. LB, a single parent of four children (the youngest with autism, sensory processing disorder, and speech and language difficulties, and another child awaiting an autism diagnosis), residing in Islington. Ms. LB receives a disability living allowance per her son via the Universal Credit and Careers Allowance. She had to shield during COVID-19 while struggling to connect to online support services such as therapy for her son and daughter. She is also facing difficulties accessing Centre 404 webinars and workshops for families in similar situations. All of this places her at higher risk of social isolation. A laptop can help with all of this while also providing a way for her children to complete coursework.
Ms. LR’s family lives in Islington, and she receives the Disability Living Allowance for her son and works as a nursery assistant, which disqualifies her from the careers allowance. She lives with her elderly parents whom she also cares for and cannot claim other welfare benefits. Her income is just above the threshold, leaving her unable to purchase a tablet or laptop for herself. Her son has autism with significant cognitive, social, communication, and sensory difficulties. He is incontinent and remains wearing pull-up nappies. His high and complex sensory needs have dramatically increased due to the uncertainties and sudden loss of routine due to COVID-19. He requires constant attention around the clock. Ms. LR is exhausted and isolated, caring for her parents and son. She is a full-time caregiver working a part-time job and is at risk for social isolation. She struggles to access Centre 404 supporting families online webinars, as well as with healthcare appointments and therapy for her son due to lacking a laptop or PC. A laptop will enable access to online therapy for her son and will alleviate her loneliness and risk of social isolation while providing access to online support and a lifeline.
Ms. CC is a 70 year old carer from Haringey whose laptop became broken months ahead of the pandemic, so she hasn’t any device at the moment. A laptop would give her access to online groups like the ones she used to attend for carers which provided social interaction. A laptop would give her the ability to order groceries
online, especially in light of a second wave of COVID-19, and a way to stay in contact with friends and family.
Ms. SW, a 52 year old woman providing care for a son with learning disability. She is unable to participate in coffee mornings and other activities for parents of learning disabled kids due to a lack of devices. She would also like to volunteer, and with a laptop, she could do all of these things.
A parent of two school age children with no laptop or computer, she was given a work laptop but her children can’t use it. The laptop her children had from school had to be returned. Both her children, ages 17 and 10, have online homework and would like to once again enjoy games and learning apps, and their family could use a laptop to connect and communicate with family and friends and order groceries. While mom works, the family can’t afford a laptop because of bills, groceries, and essentials.
Refugee Support Network Provides Success Story
Nabil, who just started a level 1 ESOL course at college, will be utilizing a donated SocialBox.Biz laptop for this hybrid course. While some will be in-person, some will be online, underscoring the need for a laptop. Another charity has provided the cost of internet access, helping this student begin his course successfully.
Routes: supporting refugee women in London.
Routes mentoring for Refugee Women provided success stories how SocialBox.Biz laptops are helping their clients women in their community have with some background into why digital access makes a big difference to the women they work with.
Many refugees and asylum seekers in the UK are living without laptops, or easy access to tech in their homes. Most of the women that we support relied on libraries for digital access, but during the pandemic that was cut off. The asylum system in the UK is harsh and only provides £5.39 a day for asylum seekers to live off and prohibits access to employment or benefits. Living with these restrictions means
that many are living in poverty and have no way of buying vital equipment, like laptops, to improve their lives.
Routes works with and in service of women affected by the UK asylum system, supporting access to jobs and education, building community, and improving language and digital skills.
Providing laptops to women who don’t have access to one at home has become a crucial service that we can offer.
Stories about laptops
Sarah was living in shared accommodation with lots of other asylum seekers where they shared one laptop. Sarah’s goal was to apply to university to study Prosthetics and Orthotics but having one shared laptop in the house meant that she had very limited access and wasn’t able to save any documents, research or information on it. Since getting her laptop through Routes she has been able to apply for university and successfully secured herself a scholarship. She has also been able to complete the English and Maths tests that the
university required of her, enabling her to begin her course. She is now able to use her laptop to support her with all her coursework.
Anita’s goal was to make a roadmap for her life in the UK. She wanted to study or start her own business but with a young son and no childcare, it was difficult for her to access any courses. Routes gave her a laptop and this enabled her to access lots of free online courses and she has started an application to university. She now feels excited about what she can achieve in the UK and will be able to continue to study from home until her son starts nursery.
Asal wanted to apply for a masters but was doing all her research and applications from her mobile phone. Routes gave her a laptop and so now she is able to research much more thoroughly and save the work as she was doing it. She has now secured her place at university and received a scholarship. She started studying in September 2020. “The laptop that you had provided me during the mentoring programme has an important role in the process of making an application to the university and it also helps me to attend my online English classes during lockdown. If I did not have this laptop, I would not be able to attend my classes and do all the work. There is nothing I can do to repay you apart from thanking you from the bottom of my heart.”
NB: names have been anonymised
All of these case studies echo real-life, everyday situations that people across the UK are struggling with right now, and with our help, we can provide a beacon of help in troubled times. You can participate in this movement today with your laptop donation! Contact SocialBox.Biz Today !