IT firm’s rally cry for more volunteers, laptops and tablets

Adam VauseAdam Vause
Adam Vause
Big-hearted Wiganers are rallying to a local call for donated old laptops and tablets to help underprivileged pupils get online - but more help is needed!

Earlier this month the Wigan Post featured borough firm Express IT which is spearheading a crusade to help youngsters struggling with their education more than most because they are not properly equipped for remote learning during the pandemic.

Boss Adam Vause says there has been ‘a magnificent response’ so far with upwards of 160 devices gifted for reconditioning and checking before being passed on to children.

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But he wants more borough firms to chip in with their old kit. He is now calling for volunteers with experience in IT to help process the donated goods as the scheme is accelerated, and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham yesterday showed how much further there is to go when he said an estimated 20,000 pupils in the city region are still lacking the necessary equipment.

Mr Vause said: “Our scheme is really grabbing hold, so much so that we need more volunteers.

“We want to get the devices that are virtually ready for use out there as quickly as possible. And we need people who can replace hard drives and get kit ready and tested for children to use. Of course all the due diligence is done on where the devices have come from plus PAT testing.

“If anything we could do with more borough companies getting involved and donating recently replaced devices. Most of the donations so far has been either from clients of ours outside the area and members of the public.

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“But we are rolling it out further. Hopefully within a couple of weeks we will have the Leighway premises at the Spinning Gate shopping centre as a base for our work where volunteers can process the devices in a Covid-safe environment.

“We are also on the look-out for funding.”

Appearing on Sky News, Mr Burnham said: “If we can’t give schools a start date, they have to put in place the equipment to get kids online. And it’s just not good enough to do this sort of half-hearted job they have done so far.

“The longer kids are out of school, the greater the damage and we need to see every young person supported in their learning.

“We estimate that in Greater Manchester there are around 20,000 young people who are out of school and do not have online access and that simply isn’t good enough.”

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Coun Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and families at Wigan Council, said: “Ensuring our children have access to quality education has been a key priority for the council for many years. This priority has been accelerated following the Covid-19 pandemic with many children switching their traditional classrooms for virtual ones.

“I would like to thank schools and teachers on doing such a fantastic job on a daily basis despite the challenges that remote learning presents.

“However, there is more to be done nationally and I commend this Wigan borough business and others that are stepping forward, for going the extra mile to supporting our children and young people during this tricky time.”

Anyone willing to volunteer for the Express IT device recyling project should go to

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Meanwhile another Leigh software company, Nemiah UK, has got a similar scheme going on.

Founder and CEO Steve Tomlinson said: "We currently need 271 laptops and just over £3,000 and that’s just for the 16 schools enrolled (this increases daily).

"We have already had over £2,500 and 46 laptops donated."

It has also come to an arrangement with Wigan's Galleries shopping centre to set up a collection point there.

So anyone can drop off old laptops and tablets at the Centre Management Suite between 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 11.30 am to 3.30pm.

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