Projects: Donate a device

TechResort started refurbishing and donating laptops back in the first Covid-19 lockdown, and we’re continuing to meet this growing need


Multiple funders including Sussex Community Foundation, Blagrave Trust, Local Giving and the Postcode Community Trust


Many people in Eastbourne and across the UK are unable to get online – access to a suitable laptop, tablet or phone is a common reason.

Back in March 2020, we decided to do something about this. We began by loaning spare laptops we had in the office – after all, we weren’t using them!

It quickly became clear that we didn’t have enough devices to help everyone, so we put out a call for donations. We were looking for laptops, preferably under 10 years old, that could be re-used by people in need.

By January 2022, TechResort had worked on 250 devices – it’s made a huge difference to our community. Either people are able to get online for the first time, or they’re able to get more screen time. We heard that many families are sharing a single device, and often have to stay up till the early hours waiting for their turn.

Since we’ve started, there’s been a huge increase and unfortunately at times a long waiting list for all types of devices.

Many public services are exclusively online – such as Universal Credit, EU Settled Status and Healthy Start – so this is vital work.

If you have a device to donate, please complete this form. We also have a number of ‘phone bank boxes’ out and about in the community, where you can drop your old device off.

With every device we receive, we make sure to:

  • Wipe any remaining data
  • Check it works and is suitable for basic use
  • Upgrade the hardware, if necessary
  • Install fresh software ready for use
  • Place it in a bag with accessories and instructions on getting started


The biggest single thing we’ve learned from this project is that the need is huge and growing. So many people in Eastbourne are unable to get online, and we’re proud to be helping.

Having a device has been described to us by several clients as a “lifesaver” – a phone can keep a vulnerable person safe and in touch with their support network. We’ve provided phones and SIM cards to people who are sleeping rough, those who are fleeing domestic abuse and need a new device which cannot be traced by their abuser, and asylum seekers, so they can contact their families and start to prepare for life once they gain their refugee status – among others.

We’ve also learned that Windows laptops are the best devices to refurbish and donate. They tend to be usable for longer and cheaper to repair than Apple equivalents. Older machines can be fitted with a less resource intensive operating system – such as Linux – and still be useful for years to come.

By working with local councils, schools, and businesses, we’ve been able to massively increase the amount of laptops available to donate. They’re often reluctant or unable to donate old equipment, but we’ve been able to alleviate their concerns. If you have questions about donating devices, please get in touch.

This project has also been useful work experience for young people. Many have struggled to find suitable placements due to lockdown, but we’ve been able to find them good things to learn and do. Thanks to Blagrave Trust for work experience funding.

Finally, we presented this work at a recent webinar, and you can see more learnings here.

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