Surplus computers donated by local businesses and individuals and then individually adapted for use by disabled people are flying out the door thanks to funding for an admin post. Over the last two years Edinburgh-based Pass IT On has managed to reduce the waiting time for people getting a computer from almost a year to just six weeks. This is great news for people who are unable or find it difficult to use a shop-bought computer, and is currently helping clients aged 4 to 87.
In 2011 the charity Pass IT On was able to have a dedicated administration role for the first time since it was set up twelve years ago. This has been part-funded by Corra Foundation for the last two years, and the group has just been successful in getting another £4,000 of funding from the Foundation to help pay for the post this year.
Allan Wilson, Chair of the Trustees, said: “Having access to computers is a very enabling thing. Most of us take it for granted, but for some people with a disability using a commercially-available computer isn’t as easy. Each of the computers we supply is specially adapted so we make it as easy as possible for people to use them. The service is, as far as possible, free of charge, and anyone can get in touch to recommend someone they think would benefit. This may be because of a physical or mental disability, mental health issues or brain injuries. Pass It On will then send them an eligibility form to be completed so we can understand their needs properly.
“One of the things that is special about Pass IT On is that there is no age limit. Some other schemes have age restrictions on who can benefit, or can only work with people who are about to start a job. We have no limits of this sort, and that is reflected in the range of people we are currently working with across an 83 year age span. The difference having an admin post has made is enormous, as it frees up other people’s time to get on with working directly with clients, and having funding to keep that in place is great news.”
Mary Craig OBE, Chief Executive of Corra Foundation, said: “This is a great example of using something one person doesn’t want to make a really positive difference to the life of someone else. Having access to a computer opens up a whole range of possibilities that just aren’t available in other ways, and we’re delighted to have been able to continue to provide some financial support for this work.”
Pass IT On also raises money by selling surplus computers which aren’t required by their disabled clients. Not only is this a great way of getting an internet-ready computer for around £70, it is also a good way of supporting a great local charity. Pass IT On recently became a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher and can supply PCs with Windows 7 Citizenship Licences and Microsoft Office to people who qualify. Potential purchasers should contact Pass IT On for more info – www.passitoncomputers.co.uk
Pass IT On was co-founded by Martha Lester-Cribb and Sandy Kerr when they realised there was a gap in provision of a tailored IT equipment service for disabled people. With the help of around 45 volunteers, the group adapts and refurbishes donated IT equipment and provides it free to people with disabilities in Edinburgh.