Power to Connect Project Wins Award

Volunteers refurbish tech devices to give to families in Wandsworth

One local family that has benefitted from the scheme
One local family that has benefitted from the scheme

A local project in which unneeded mobile phones and laptops are refurbished and given to families in need in Wandsworth has won an award.

Power to Connect has been give a ‘Community Impact’ award for tackling digital poverty during the Covid-19 crisis with over 370 devices have been collected, refurbished and donated to 45 local schools since the campaign launched in April 2020

Power to Connect, a campaign launched by Battersea Power Station (BPS) and Wandsworth Council was given the prize at the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards. The 10th award ceremony took place virtually on Thursday 24 September 2020 recognised organisations and individuals who have used digital technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place.

The initiative was launched to support local families struggling to home school and stay digitally connected during lockdown because they didn’t have access to a computer or broadband at home. Since Power to Connect launched, hundreds of emergency phone data top-up vouchers and wifi dongles funded by a £10,000 donation from the Battersea Power Station Foundation have been distributed to families in the borough.

BPS and Wandsworth Council have also set up a laptop and tablet refurbishment project, which collects unused laptops and tablets that are in working order, refurbishes them as Google Chromebooks with the help of volunteers and redistributes the devices.

Isabel Oakley Chapman, Director at Power to Connect, said, “We are thrilled to have won the Community Impact award at the AbilityNet Tech4Good awards last week. The success of Power to Connect is thanks to the Wandsworth community coming together at a time of real crisis. Without the support of Battersea Power Station, the Council, local residents who donate devices and the IT and transport volunteers who continue to give up their free time to refurbish and deliver computers the work we do wouldn’t be possible. With continued support from local residents and businesses, we hope to continue to connect more families in Wandsworth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Councillor Will Sweet, Wandsworth Council Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, said, “It is a fitting tribute to a landmark initiative that has delivered vital support to our young people’s learning and education throughout the pandemic. We were absolutely determined to make sure no child was left behind during lockdown, which is why we teamed up with Battersea Power Station to provide laptops and mobile data top-up vouchers so that children from lower income families had all the digital tools they needed to keep up with their lessons while schools were closed.”

Power to Connect recently became a Community Interest Company and has raised over £1,000 as part of a Crowdfunder campaign, which will be used to continue supporting local families and schools throughout the pandemic.

Sarah Banham, Head of Communities and Sustainability at Battersea Power Station, said, ““There are still many more who are experiencing digital poverty and need help, especially as schools are now preparing for local lockdowns and class bubbles are having to self-isolate.

“We welcome more businesses getting in touch with Power to Connect if they have unwanted laptops or can volunteer technical expertise, so that we can support parents and local schoolchildren during this challenging time.”

Information on how to support the ‘Power to Connect’ campaign through computer or tablet donations, by volunteering IT expertise or your time to collect and drop off the refurbished Chromebooks, or by making a donation to the data top-up voucher fund, further information on how to get involved can be found at here.

October 9, 2020