Computer shop transforms old laptops to allow more than 50 Pudsey schoolchildren access to internet

More than 50 schoolchildren will be able to do their schoolwork from home after an initiative by a Pudsey councillor - with a local computer shop transforming donated laptops from the public.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 6:00 am

Simon Seary, a councillor in Pudsey, acted quickly after the lockdown announcement earlier this week.

Using a local projects fund, Simon spoke to Steven Lightfoot - managing director of popular Pudsey Computers on Bradford Road - to ask if there was anything which could be done.

Together, the pair launched a donation initiative.

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More than 50 laptops have already been transformed to be used by schoolchildren in Pudsey

Pudsey residents have rallied behind the cause and donated an array of old laptops and devices which would otherwise not have been usable.

At time of writing, at least 50 devices have been donated and transformed by Steven's team at the computer shop.

They are using a drop off point at the front of the store and adhering to all coronavirus restrictions - even offering to taxi devices from residents' homes.

Steven, 34, said the first delivery of five devices was made on Thursday morning to Crawshaw High School.

The schools are set to be given ownership of the devices before passing them on to students in need.

Steven said: "I got a call from Simon late on Monday night.

"He said he had a budget, he needed to get devices to students hands and what should he do.

"I told him if I could get devices which could operate Windows Vista or above, I was able to sort it."

Donations began flooding in to the shop.

Steven added: "We install a software which in essence turns the old laptop into a chromebook style device.

"It runs really light and is much quicker than Windows for basic requirements."

The initiative has allowed the staff at the shop to remain working without using the furlough scheme.

Steven said he may even have to take on extra staff to deal with the sheer number of donations from the generous community.

He said: "All of the laptops have been donated from local residents.

"We make sure it is wiped and they can even keep their hard drive.

"We then put them in a fresh box with a charger for the students after doing checks that everything is working."

Steven told the Yorkshire Evening Post that some parents had even called the shop - desperate to get their hands on a device to enable their children to work.

He added: "It is not just deprived families, the government are asking for everyone in the household to all have access at the same time.

"Most families do not have that.

"To immediately ask those families to have this is hard.

"There is a huge need for [the initiative]. "

Councillor Simon Seary said he quickly realised many Pudsey schoolchildren would be struggling for access to the internet immediately.

He said his son designed a poster for the shop to advertise the donation initiative and started on the project as soon as possible.

Simon said: "The computers are going to go to the school and they will own them

"We started with the high schools and we have nine primary schools in Pudsey too.

"You might have a desktop but what about the third child or those working from home?

"It is just taking that pressure off for them and helping the schools."

Simon said Pudsey Computers were a "real, loyal company".

He added: "It is costing about £20 per laptop.

"We have got the potential to spend up to £10,000 on this project, that is 500 laptops.

"People really want to give locally, how many people have a laptop stuffed away in the cupboard somewhere?

"We have covered all bases and it is fantastic, we are really excited about it."

Donations of devices can be made to Pudsey Computers.

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