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Three Scottish independent schools join forces with Edinburgh charity to tackle digital poverty

Posted: 17th November 2021

Three top Scottish independent schools are playing their part in the fight against digital poverty by working with their ICT Support Provider, Mother Technologies who is leading a project to donate surplus IT equipment to a national charity involved in digital reuse.

Mother Technologies is supporting International School Aberdeen (ISA), Albyn School, and St Margaret’s School for Girls to take part in the initiative driven by The Edinburgh Remakery, to reuse old electronics in a bid to tackle rising levels of digital poverty in Scotland and social isolation among disadvantaged communities.

The Social Enterprise’s free IT Disposal Service for Businesses was officially established in 2020 in response to the growing need for convenient and secure IT disposal avenues. The project offers businesses and individuals the means to pass on a host of unwanted electronics such as smart phones, laptops, PCs and tablets, in an environmentally friendly way which prevents these items from going to waste.

The schools’ initiative is a joint enterprise with Edinburgh and Aberdeen based IT specialists Mother Technologies, which is the ICT support service company for all three independent schools. Mother Technologies Head of Business Development, Alex Ferguson, explains why it’s more important than ever to close the digital poverty gap: “There is much more of an awareness of digital poverty in a post-pandemic Scotland.

“Digital skills are essential in most lines of work and changes in the way we live and work post lockdown means that access to technology is increasingly important.

“Mother Technologies is committed to helping address the digital divide and we are proud to be supporting this fantastic initiative by the Edinburgh Remakery, who have done a wonderful job of launching this scheme to ensure every person in Scotland has adequate digital access.” Between the three independent schools, more than 280 pieces of IT equipment have been donated to The Edinburgh Remakery over the last month to repair, refurbish and offer back to the community.

Nick Little, Head of School, ISA, said: “We are proud to be involved with The Edinburgh Remakery’s initiative to tackle digital poverty in Scotland. The Social Enterprise is built on the principles of sustainability and learning, matching our school’s vision for a greener future by pushing us towards a zero-waste approach.

“ISA believes in every child, every opportunity, and we are delighted to continue our collaboration with The Edinburgh Remakery as we strive to create a more sustainable community for all.” Anna Tomlinson, Head Teacher for St Margaret’s School for Girls, said: “St Margaret’s School for Girls is thrilled to be taking part in such a fantastic initiative to help provide a better and fairer education to children, whilst setting an example of sustainable practice. “At St Margaret’s School for Girls we are strong believers that every child should have access to the appropriate educational tools in order to maximise their potential and broaden their minds. We hope that other schools, places of work and individuals are able to donate where they can and help support the young minds of the future.”

Stefan Horsman, Headmaster at Albyn School, commented: “I’m delighted that Albyn School is involved in this sustainable and community-based initiative. The upcoming COP26 Conference reminds us that we live on a finite planet and that by repurposing our unused electronics in this way we are making a clear contribution to a more sustainable world.

“I would urge everyone here at Albyn and in the wider community to get involved as so many of us have unwanted electronics lying around at home.”

The Edinburgh Remakery uses government-approved software that securely wipes any data from donated equipment to ensure it is all non-retrievable and allows items to be easily reused. According to a recent report by innovation agency Nesta, one in seven adults in Scotland are experiencing digital poverty. The research revealed that more than 620,000 adults in Scotland, or 14% of the adult population, do not have access to sufficient mobile or broadband data to meet their essential needs.

Elaine Brown, CEO of The Edinburgh Remakery: “Our free IT Disposal Service and IT donation drop-off points continue to grow and offer a much needed secure and sustainable way for old electronics to be passed on and reused.

“We are hugely grateful to International School Aberdeen, Albyn School, and St Margaret’s School for Girls, who have each donated a range of surplus IT equipment to us, for supporting our mission to end digital poverty in Scotland while keeping old and unused electronics out of landfill. “We thank them for lending their loyal and generous support to us, and hope this is the start of many more educational bodies taking action to support their communities and embed sustainable practices within their institutions in this way.”

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