'Tech is vital to me and my family' - Hull charity helping the digitally excluded and saving on electronic waste

Hull Giroscope’s IT refurbishment project, GiroTech, has been given a funding boost
-Credit: (Image: Giroscope/timeaftertimefund.org.uk)


A Hull charity is celebrating after being awarded a share of £500,000 to help tackle electronic waste and help communities in need get online.

Giroscope has received a £59,000 grant from the Time After Time e-waste fund, created by Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity, Hubbub, to boost projects that give unwanted tech a second life and support digital inclusion. One of the people Giroscope has been able to help is Hull resident and mum-of-two, Caroline.

Giroscope performed laptop repairs for Caroline and provided a refurbished laptop for her children, aged 18 and 12, helping them with their school work. Caroline said: “Giroscope helped repair my laptop and provided my kids with a refurbished laptop along with a SIM card for internet access.

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“The tech is vital to me and my family. For me, it helps me manage things like the household finances and doctor’s appointments, and the online access helps me stay in contact with work and my friends. For the kids, the laptop gave them a way to complete their schoolwork, revise for exams and prepare for life after school.

“Giroscope’s support meant that I didn’t have to throw away my laptop when it first stopped working. I was so happy when they told me they’d be able to repair it. It would have been such a shame to chuck it away into landfill when it could be so easily fixed.”

Hull’s Giroscope rehomes refurbished tech with people who need it
Hull’s Giroscope rehomes refurbished tech with people who need it -Credit:Giroscope/timeaftertimefund.org.uk

Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub established the Time After Time fund in 2022 in response to the nation’s growing e-waste problem, with the UK producing more electrical waste per person than any other country in the world, except for Norway. Giroscope’s project was selected as one of eight winners from more than 120 entries.

Jim Rintoul, Giroscope support worker, said: “We’re over the moon to receive this funding from Hubbub and Virgin Media O2. It will allow GiroTech, Giroscope’s IT refurbishment project, to build on the foundations and relationships established over the past three years and expand our operations within the local community in Hull and out into the East Riding of Yorkshire.

“The funding will support our ambition to increase the number of donations coming in and then going back out into the community to those who really need it.” Giroscope works to refurbish donated PCs, laptops, smartphones and other tech and provides free internet access and support to people who need it.

The organisation also benefits from the support of neurodivergent volunteers, working closely with local charity Matthew’s Hub, which supports autistic people. The award will significantly support the project’s growth and enable two of the volunteers to become part-time employees.

Dana Haidan, chief sustainability officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “Well done to Hull’s Giroscope for their innovative and inspiring project that rehomes refurbished tech with people in need and provides skills and training for neurodivergent young people across the city. With this funding from Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund, Giroscope will continue to have a positive impact on people across Hull, and cut e-waste to help protect the planet.”

Among the panel of judges who scrutinised the entries was TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke. He said: “I was blown away by the incredible entries to the Time After Time fund, which made the judging process extremely difficult, yet so worthwhile.

“The winning projects will put old tech to good use so it can be used again and again, and help people in need to access the online world.” Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub, said an abundance of smart devices in households and businesses had potential to help the estimated 1.5 million households that are digitally disconnected get online.