Going spare: good homes for old computers

I have a dead computer in the corner of my study. Recently my hard disk started issuing apocalyptic warning messages and so – as my life depends on my computer and I had been thinking of replacing it sometime anyway – I zipped online and ordered a new one before the apocalypse arrived. Data safely transferred, I am up and running with my new computer – but the dead one is sitting in the corner doing nothing.

As this is (hopefully) an era where we know that we shouldn’t just throw an old computer away and as I was sure that with a bit of work (new hard disk etc) it could be of use to someone – what should I do with it? Well – one of my recent constituency engagements provided the answer (almost).

The “almost” is because events conspired to prevent me taking it with me on the visit as I ended up having to dash back and forth first between marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Battle of Wood Green (an anti-fascist march) and rescuing a stranded daughter (victim of the one working line of the Northern Line expiring with a stuck train at Archway and a mega-important event to be got to).

So I arrived at Maxitech for my visit to their special “bring your old computer day” without my own. Maxitech are a brilliant, not-for-profit local company that reconditions old computers, whilst giving training and employment to the long-term local unemployed – and then uses the reconditioned computers to benefit charities and community groups. Old computers get put back into use, jobs are created and good causes get IT equipment cheaply. Win, win, win!

This particular day was a special hook-up with Hewlett-Packard (who are a huge and very corporately responsible computer company) and children’s charity NCH (used to be National Children’s Homes). All day long the parking lot at Chocolate Factory in Clarendon Road N22, where Maxitech are based, was open to receive computer donations from individuals in the community. Those reconditioned computers will be going to the NCH.

There will be other special days arranged in the future – and Maxitech are there all the time. I will get my computer to them soon, but I suspect there are many other people other there like myself who also have computers that could go to this good home. Whilst much of Maxitech’s supply comes from companies, they also welcome equipment from individuals. You can get further information from www.maxitech.biz or 0870 199 5010. And if you give them an old computer, you’ll not only tidy up your home – you will also do some good (and feel good!) as a bonus.

(c) Lynne Featherstone, 2007

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