Vinci Plc Donates Laptops to ITVET Free Laptop for Schools Campaign

Watford Schools receive much needed Laptops to help disadvantaged pupils

As part of the ITVET Free Laptops for Schools scheme, businesses can donate unwanted Laptops which are then refurbished by ITVET and given a new lease of life, before being donated to a school or charity of the doner company’s choice. Vinci Plc became aware of the scheme and immediately offered to help by donating up to 90 laptops. In this instance the laptops went to schools in the Watford area close to Vinci’s head offices. One of the schools which benefited was Beechfield Primary in Watford.

Tanya Mortlock Assistant Headteacher at Beechfield School

Assistant headteacher Tanya Mortlock said:

“Beechfield School have many families who have needed support with technology during the lock down. Having laptops donated to our school is so wonderful as it means we are able to provide every family who needs one with a laptop. This means every child can have access to the remote learning they deserve. Upon our return to school, we will be able to use these laptops in classrooms to support learning in areas such as reading, times tables, spelling, and calculations. It will also support our Special Educational Needs provision. Being computer literate is a life skill and we cannot thank ITVET enough for helping us deliver these skills to our children”

VINCI Construction UK is a specialist civil engineering, construction and facilities management company based in Watford. “It is great to support ITVET with their campaign to provide laptops to schools in our local area. Being able to access a computer is now an essential part of every child’s life. By repurposing VINCI’s laptops, hopefully, many children will be able to further their education and develop the skills required to participate in our digital future. VINCI works closely with local communities through many programmes and we are very happy to be supporting the circular economy at the same time.” said Ben Paddick, Director of Digital & IT, VINCI Construction UK.

Since the pandemic started there has been a huge problem for schools in trying to teach pupils remotely, and that has been made incredibly difficult in cases where pupils families are struggling to cope financially and are unable to purchase expensive laptops and equipment. Although the government committed to provide 1.6m laptops to help disadvantaged pupils, the vast majority of these have not materialised. The criteria for eligibility are pupils that are on the Pupil Premium (PP), and or Free School Meals (FSM). However, given the added financial pressures that COVID19 has created, there are many families which are not eligible and not able to purchase new laptops due to lack of funds.

Another beneficiary of the scheme to receive a supply of laptops was Cherry Tree Primary School, Berry Avenue Watford. Which has 428 pupils. Headteacher Cheska Tyler said:

We are so grateful for the kind donation of laptops From ITVET & Vinci Plc to our school. We have been struggling to meet the need for our families so kindness such as this has been invaluable. As a result of these donations, we have been able to ensure that all of our pupils can access online learning with their peers and engage in live learning with the class teachers. On behalf of our children, families and staff thank you

Headteacher Cheska Tyler with one of the donated Laptops

The ITVET scheme was launched last November and was recently featured on the BBC’s Look East programme and has so far donated hundreds of laptops to schools, charities and families across the UK. ITVET CEO Richard Fountain explained, “as soon as we became aware of the scale of the problem, we started to appeal for donations of unwanted laptops from our clients and the public through our website and social media. In turn this was picked up by the BBC which raised awareness and helped boost the numbers of donations massively. However, it is the donations from businesses such as Vinci which are the most beneficial, as the quantities of laptops in a single donation are much higher which makes the logistics much easier. This is important because although we are doing everything we can to help, our resources are limited, so every little bit helps. Plus, companies can be reassured that as an ISO27001 accredited organisation we are able to securely destroy any data and issue a certificate of destruction.

Our team have been amazing, they have worked day and night often in their own time to muck in and help. From collecting the laptops, carrying out the repairs, to delivering into the schools. Our clients have also stepped up, not only offering donations of laptops, but also to collect or deliver laptops etc. All in all the feel good factor and teamwork makes it so worthwhile. So successful has been the scheme that we have decided to make it a permanent part of our operation, so that every time we sell a new laptop, we offer businesses the option of donating their old devices to a charity or school of their choice”

laptops for schools

Laptops for Schools Scheme – Update

We would like to thank everyone for your generosity and kindness in response to our Laptops for School scheme.

Following the BBC’s coverage of our campaign, we have received extraordinary interest and have carried out hundreds laptop/device donations to date.

We are no longer able to collect donations from individuals, due to logistical reasons, however if you wish to send your device in, we would be more than happy to carry out refurbishments, provided it complies with the following: 

  • Working condition (no lines on screen, keyboard all keys present, trackpad buttons work, no cracks, broken hinges, laptop can keep power on) 
  • Windows 10 compatible – look for a sticker stating windows 7/8/10 
  • Laptop to be delivered to the ITVET Office 
  • Power Adaptor 

Please note, we do not accept the following: 

  • iPads or Tablets 
  • Windows Vista/XP 
  • Non-working 

If your company has any unwanted laptops that they would be willing to donate, please get in touch, as we are still collecting laptop donations from businesses.   

ITVET team member installing a new Solid State Drive

ITVET team member installing a new Solid State Drive

We know there are still many people who would like to help but are not able to donate a laptop. So, we have launched a fundraising campaign GoFundMe to supply each laptop with a new Solid State Drive(SSD) to enable faster performance and laptop capacity, whilst reducing the turnaround to schools and increasing the lifespan of the laptop for schools. 

Help change the lives of disadvantaged pupils to ensure they get the education they deserve.  

ITVET Laptops for Schools’ campaign joins forces with the BBC

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country have had to shift to online learning rapidly. The long-term impact on our younger generation is not yet known, but what we can already see is the emergence of a new issue for disadvantaged children, digital exclusion.

Some children do not have the access to IT equipment to continue learning remotely. The government are struggling to meet the demand, which means these children are being left behind. So, in November 2020, we launched our Laptops for Schools Campaign issuing laptops to schools in the Bishop Stortford area, to get children learning.  

We have now joined forces with the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign to support schools and help children in need across Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We have had an unprecedented response from individuals and businesses, with over 700 donations pledged so far.

Over 1.85 million students in the UK qualified for the Pupil Premium in 2020. However, only 300,000 laptops have been pledged by the UK government. This means that there will be a shortfall of over 1.5 million. Together we can bridge this gap. 

Work in progress by ITVET Team

Our team are working around the clock, free of charge, collecting and refurbishing these laptops and getting them out to schools as quickly as possible.

Helen Smith, Headteacher of Manor Fields Primary School, who received laptops from ITVET before the 3rd lockdown, said:

“On behalf of the staff and pupils at Manor Fields Primary School, I wanted to express my sincere thanks to ITVET for the laptop donations they have organised for us and other local schools. To date, we have only been allocated 1 laptop from the DFE to support pupils at the school without access to appropriate devices – and the need is much greater than that. The donations so far have enabled us to support four more families in need – making a very difficult time just that little bit easier. We are extremely grateful – not just to ITVET for their expertise and time refurbishing the devices for us – but also to the individuals and companies whose donations made the whole scheme possible.”

Janet Conboy handing laptops over to Manor Fields

By refurbishing these laptops, we can give them a new lease of life and find them a home with kids who need them.  

To increase the laptops’ lifespan and enable us to get the laptops to schools faster, we have launched a GoFundMe campaign to fit new Solid State Drives (SSD). This enables us to use laptops which might otherwise be unsuitable, and satisfy more demand, whilst increasing performance.

To view the full coverage on Digital Exclusion from the BBC, please click here.

Get in touch today and help us to make a difference! 

If you have any unwanted device which can run Windows 10 and in usable conditions and would like to donate, please fill out the donation form here:

ITVET helps Holy Trinity Night Shelter to set up pods for Winter

ITVET are pleased to be volunteering for Holy Trinity night shelter in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, to ensure that they can meet the new Covid-19 guidelines and open this Winter. Working with the night shelter, ITVET will provide vital volunteers to wire the electrics for the pods that are being erected to ensure compliance to social distancing guidelines.

Holy Trinity night shelter and community outreach was set up by Reverend Brown and Megan Kervin from the salvation army. The shelter offers critical warmth and shelter from the harsh conditions at this time of year, to those in need from the local community.

Last year, the centre opened at the end of November until the end of March to provide night shelter during the winter months. Over that time, they sheltered 30 people, 4 of which were constant throughout the entire season. The previous year saw nearly 50 people pass through for support.

David Perry, Operations manager, for the charity spoke about the impact that Covid-19 has had on the homeless community:

This year has been a challenge for most people, but for those on the streets, it has added a new complexity to what is already a complicated daily life. Areas which would normally offer a welcome respite like local cafes and libraries are now closed meaning many are on the streets without shelter, all day every day. Other benefits like volunteer work experience and social initiatives which are vital to build self-esteem, gain references and get people back on their feet, are not able to run.

Luckily, the government has banned evictions, and the furlough scheme is helping some people temporarily, but the Food bank is starting to get busy with Christmas just round the corner – there are a lot of people struggling this year.

Night shelters around the UK are having to change their set up to adhere to the new government guidelines. This is resulting in delays to shelters opening when temperatures are already starting to plummet.

ITVET employees volunteering to help paint the homeless shelters

Holy Trinity night shelter would normally open in November but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the church has had to bring in a raft of new measures including social distancing in the main hall.

We’ve had to make significant changes to how we support those that need us. We cannot offer the same service as we normally do, so we need to find new ways of helping people get back on track.

At this point, we do not think we will be able to open until after Christmas – there are tighter risk assessments due to COVID-19, we still need to get the centre ready and source meals which can be served individually, and we now have to train our new volunteers remotely.

ITVET is just one of the organisations who have offered to help. They will install the electrics for each of the 7 pods altogether. Each Pod gives a resident a self-contained locker, charging point, and iPad from which we provide on demand television for the evening.

Normally, beds are rolled out into a communal hall area which is no longer possible, so the Pods are a great solution. Each Pod is created from plasterboard to give some soundproofing with a closed door and a window and vents. Guests will have access to a table and a charging station so that they can make important contact . Providing the guests with their own safe space and food and beverage making facilities, like a little hotel room will help with their mental health and hopefully, ensure they get back on their feet, as soon as possible. There will also be a little area outside where they can sit down and chat. As David says:

We know the centre makes a real difference. Last year, we have 5 former residents return to volunteer. They wanted to give back, and help others transform their lives as they have.

The centre offers so much more than just shelter. David and his volunteers offer 1-2-1 guidance to help residents get back on their feet including helping with doctors’ registrations, organising work experience, and assisting with accommodation applications. The centre is still look for support.

For updates from the centre, please follow their website here, and If you are able to help, please contact David Perry.

ITVET delivers free refurbished laptops to Birchwood High School

On Friday 20th November, Managed IT Services provider, ITVET delivered the first batch of free refurbished laptops for schools to the Birchwood High School, in Bishop’s Stortford. 

The laptops will be given to disadvantaged students who are required to study from home and do not have access to the correct equipment. The laptops will enable them to continue learning as easily as any other student, while promoting recycling and sustainability in tech.

Mr Charles Gilbank, Vice Principal, Birchwood High School, met the ITVET team to accept delivery alongside Katie Horwood, Chair of the Parent Council and Secretary of the PSFA.  

Mr Gilbank spoke to ITVET about the impact this is going to have on their students: 

“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to ITVET, this will help us facilitate catch up for the months that have been lost and allow students to feel confident with their studies at school.  

I think initially we were looking for immediate measures to get us through COVID-19 pandemic, but we soon realised just how many children did not have access to the right equipment at home. The 10 laptops that ITVET have provide us with will be invaluable to our children and the school. 

We genuinely get a community feel from ITVET. They care about their local businesses and schools and are always doing their part – like the free WiFi they offer in the town centre” 

Left to Right: Euan Browne, Deployment Engineer, ITVET Ltd; Mrs Katie Horwood, Chair of the Parent Council and Secretary of the PSFA; Mr Charles Gilbank, Vice Principal, Birchwood High School 

Richard Fountain, Managing Director, said the response has been significant, and the scheme is here to stay: 

 “We know there are lots of businesses with laptops they no longer use. People believe that they are of no value but they are wrong. As an expert IT Services provider, we can easily breathe new life into laptops which would otherwise be scrapped.  

We encourage businesses to get involved in the scheme. Since launching in our local area, we have had interest from 10 schools, requiring nearly 100 laptops between them. And that is just here, in the area around Bishops Stortford. We know that this is happening around the UK.  

With the support of our suppliers and partners we hope to be able to extend the scheme to provide free refurbished laptops to schools throughout the UK, to help as many children as we can.” 

ITVET will take care of refurbishing all laptops donated including wiping all existing data securely. To pledge a donation and start making a difference, please click here now.