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Coronavirus: Camden community tech scheme donating laptops to isolated needed ‘now more than ever’

PUBLISHED: 10:25 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:08 15 April 2020

The project has worked with Age UK Camden to provide elderly people with technology support. Picture: SocialBox.Biz

The project has worked with Age UK Camden to provide elderly people with technology support. Picture: SocialBox.Biz

SocialBox.Biz

A Camden community tech scheme giving laptops to refugees and the homeless is needed now “more than ever”.

A laptop recipient from Camden charity C4WS Homeless Project. Picture: SocialBox.BizA laptop recipient from Camden charity C4WS Homeless Project. Picture: SocialBox.Biz

SocialBox.Biz, based in Kings Cross and launched in Camden Town, gives laptops to people on the fringes of society - who have been isolated even further during coronavirus lockdown - helping them access employment, social and community services.

The tech scheme recently entered a partnership with Camden Council, whose deputy leader Pat Callaghan said would ensure old laptops fulfil “amazing second lives” and help connect disadvantaged families.

Cllr Callaghan said: “The current pandemic situation, where we self-isolate has shown more than ever the importance of being able to access a computer and the internet, especially to keep in contact with our relatives and friends, and to access online services.”

Peter Paduh, SocialBox.Biz director and himself a Bosnian refugee, understands first-hand how big an impact technology can play in people’s lives.

Pre-Covid-19 lockdown, Camden Council's deputy leader Pat Callaghan (left), Social Box.Biz director Peter Paduh (centre) and a project beneficiary with his new laptop. Picture: SocialBox.BizPre-Covid-19 lockdown, Camden Council's deputy leader Pat Callaghan (left), Social Box.Biz director Peter Paduh (centre) and a project beneficiary with his new laptop. Picture: SocialBox.Biz

“Due to coronavirus and people being so isolated, this is needed now more than ever,” he said.

“It opens up a whole new world for people to get their lives back - young and old.

“I recently met a 102-year-old lady who told me she wanted to find a job and a husband on the internet!”

The tech initiative has given laptops to Camden charity C4WS Homeless Project, which operates a daily night shelter.

C4WS project manager Sam Forsdike said: “For the guests in our shelter, staying inside has proved a real challenge and so we have opened up our office space to ensure they have somewhere safe to remain indoors as per the government’s instructions.”

Every guest was given a tablet donated by Social Box, which Sam said was a “huge lifeline at this very difficult time”.

He continued: “Not only does this help them pass the time whilst they wait for the shelter to open but it also enables them to liaise with their agencies and support team who are working remotely, contact loved ones around the world, access activities to help with their wellbeing such as online meditation or watching a film and working on their goals for the future, from improving their English to refining their CVs.”

For information visit www.socialbox.biz


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