PCs hand-out to connect with communities

Liverpool communities are set to receive free computers, thanks to a new council scheme which aims to support some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The Mayoral Cabinet has approved plans to commit funding from the Mayoral Development Fund to refresh around 400 council PCs which are no longer in use, so they can be given to local people and community and voluntary groups.

The scheme aims to bridge the technology divide, and respond to the difficult economic climate by ensuring cash-strapped residents are not excluded from the increasingly important need to access the internet. It also aims to give local people the tools to gain vital IT skills, including the use of word processor packages.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Computers plays a vital role in people’s lives, whether they are used to pay bills, to assist young people with their homework, or to communicate with family and friends. The majority of us take PC ownership and internet access for granted, but for many of our most vulnerable residents, it’s a luxury they cannot afford.

“This scheme is part of our work to ensure that no one is excluded from access to a PC. We want to do all we can to make sure those people worst affected by the tough economic times can still own a computer, and benefit from the wealth of opportunities new technology brings.

“It’s about making the best use of our assets and resources to support and protect our most vulnerable residents. It’s also about investing in people of all ages, so they can improve their quality of life, learn new skills, raise their educational attainment and reach their full potential.”

Under the plans, 100 PCs will be issued to the Liverpool Community Voluntary Sector (LCVS) to distribute to clients as appropriate.

The remaining 300 PCs will be distributed to local people by the council’s Community Services team, supported by ward councillors, on a case-by-case basis. Further information on how to apply for a PC will be provided to local people in the near future.

The PCs will include Windows 7, Microsoft Office, and internet-access packages. As part of the refresh process, all PCs will be ‘wiped clean’ before being distributed, to protect all important and sensitive data.

The roll-out of the scheme will begin immediately, with all PCs expected to be distributed by the end of the year.