Upcycling Computers for Children in the NW

Update 12/3/2021

There has been some amazing support shown for my project. I would like to thank the anonymous businessman who made a substantial financial donation towards this scheme. My thanks also go out to ERP UK and CRASH Services who have made substantial contributions as well (links and PR to follow!).

If all collections go as planned over this weekend, over 120 laptops will have been distributed to families in the area since January.

As lockdown is hopefully coming to an end, I am going to close my form for new requests to allow me to focus on meeting the needs of those who are already on the list. Should I get through the remainder of the list, I can open it up again if the demand is there.

Update 19/2/2021

Just like 'Lockdown', I didn't imagine this project going on as long as it has. With the 18th Feb announcement, it looks like the majority of children will continue Remote Learning until after the Easter holidays.

So far over 70 laptops have been upcycled and passed on to families, schools and Community Groups in and around Derry to assist with Remote Learning at home. Feedback has been very positive. I still have a long list of names to work through however.

Following some media articles (and here) and appearances on Radio Foyle, Radio Ulster, BBC NI and UTV Live, I have had fantastic support from the public and some businesses (more to follow).

Derry City & Strabane Council have supported the project along with the 4R's who have been amazing.

I did a lunchtime presentation to the local Rotary Club one Monday, and in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, they have organised a collection point at Waterside Railway Station for this weekend 20th & 21st Feb between 10am-4pm. Please support this collection if you can.

Thank you again to everyone named above, and apologies to anyone I have forgotten.

For any businesses still undecided about donating their old laptops, please feel free to remove the hard drive as I can replace. Before installing Neverware, my process uses 3 passes of the DoD Short algorithm to erase the data on a HDD - "HMG British Standard Advocates 1 to 3 Passes to Overwrite HDDs; BSI GSE Says 1 or 2 Passes Are Adequate"

Waterside Railway Station

DwD Laptop Collection on 20th & 21st Feb 2021 facilitated by Londonderry Rotary Club and Derry Chamber of Commerce

Photo by Samuel McKittrick, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The DwD Lab in the 4Rs workshop!

The March Edition of PC Pro includes an article on using Neverware CloudReadyOS to upcycle older hardware.

Update 8/1/2021

Following my recent Facebook posts to the 'Your Derry' group, this idea has gained some traction.

As of this evening (8/1) the number of requests for these repurposed systems has passed 100. Unfortunately the number of devices donated so far hasn't kept pace. Please keep them coming as I genuinely believe there is an immediate need in our community.

I was hoping to avoid tablets, but given the number of requests received I will take any working tablets as well and reset them for younger children to use.

Thanks everyone for the support!

The idea

"Turn an old computer into a Chromebook"

Families in NI have had a difficult time during 2020, through 'Lockdown' and subsequently from additional disruption since returning to school in September.

Children have been expected to engage in 'Remote Learning' with an expectation that families can provide suitable devices for all children in the household to use, along with suitable broadband.

The issues faced are well documented.

Schools in NI have been providing materials to pupils via Google Classroom, an online learning tool. C2K are the service provider.

Neverware are a company, now a part of Google, who provide an operating system called 'CloudReadyOS' which will turn older computers into 'Chromebooks'. C2K already provide a paid service using Neverware to extend the life of school computer hardware.

As well as the paid-for Education and Enterprise editions used by business, Neverware also provide a free 'Home' edition of their operating system. This still works well on older, less powerful computers.

Families may already have older hardware lying at home that struggles to run Windows10. Businesses or Individuals may have older unused systems which they would like to donate rather than destroy.

On an older computer running CloudReadyOS, children can log in to their school Google Classroom accounts and complete the learning tasks set by their teachers using Google Docs etc.

The process of installing CloudReadyOS wipes all data from the harddrive of the donated system.

I would like to provide a service to the NW community where:

  • Individuals or businesses can donate older laptops/desktops (no earlier than 2010 please)

  • These donated systems are wiped and then have Neverware CloudReadyOS Home Edition installed.

  • Families or community organisations can register for donated computers.

  • Training sessions / resources provided so families can use the systems with confidence.

Please fill out one of the forms below to register your interest in providing or receiving a computer.

Drop off POINT

Please drop off any laptops (plus charger!) at the 4Rs Workshop in Pennyburn

  • in a sealed plastic bag

  • between 10am-12.

There is a box at the desk for laptop donations.


Unit 23

Pennyburn Industrial Estate

Derry City

Northern Ireland

Tel: 028 71 360 453

Carousel imageCarousel image