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Age UK needs you… and your old PCs and laptops

Published on 06 January 2011 12:30 AM

N.B. This is a template that was used to create specific regional press releases, hence exact figures are blank. For more information or for a specific regional release, please email

Miriam Margolyes and UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox back campaign to donate old computers to Age UK as new figures show (x%) of the people in have at least one or more unused PC or laptop.

Age UK is helping older people to get online in 2011 by asking anyone with unused computers at home, including celebrities, business leaders, politicians and most importantly everyone in the , to make a New Year's resolution to donate their old PCs and laptops to an Age UK charity shop. The donated computers will be refurbished, with the memory wiped and new software installed, and the profits Age UK makes by selling the computers on will go towards helping people in later life to start accessing the benefits the Internet has to offer.

New figures(1) from Microsoft, who is also supporting the appeal show that people in the have at least one or more old computers around the house, and that overall there are an estimated 30 million PCs and laptops lying unused in homes across the country. With six million people aged 65+ having never been online Age UK is calling on everyone to donate old PCs (although not monitors) and laptops, including computer power cables, to their nearest Age UK shop. Once donated their PC or laptop will be professionally refurbished and sold on, with Age UK receiving 50% of the profits, all to help older people get online. To find your nearest participating Age UK shop visit or call 0800 169 65 65.

With people in the admitting to simply throwing away their old PC, donors will have the added peace of mind that their personal data will be securely wiped to international standards and that they will be doing the environment a favour as their unused computer will be recycled to be used again. Most importantly, their old PC or laptop could make a huge difference to the life of an older person by introducing them to the benefits of the Internet such as keeping in touch with friends and family, cheaper shopping online and pursuing hobbies through Age UK training classes.

UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, said: 'The Internet is becoming increasingly important for people of all ages and a vital tool for day to day life - from saving money to keeping in touch with family and friends. Initiatives such as Age UK's computer refurbishment scheme are a brilliant way to introduce older people to the many benefits that the web has to offer. So please, if you have an old PC lying around your house, make a donation and help get an older person online in 2011.'

Age UK aims to help some of the six million people 65 and over who have never been online before to start using the Internet through a number of means, including week long campaigns such as itea and biscuits week and myfriends online week. The charity also provides support to over 190 local organisations through the charity's Digital Inclusion Network and also helps fund local technology training through Digital Inclusion grants. The money raised from the computer refurbishment scheme will go towards these initiatives and help older people across the UK get online.

The donate a PC scheme was launched last month as part of GO ON: Give Someone Their First Time (, an initiative led by Microsoft and a number of other business and organisations as part of Race Online 2012 The campaign aims to inspire regular Internet users to encourage people in their lives who are not online to give the Internet a go by passing on their skills to train people, register a friend or family member on a training course or by donating a PC.

Miriam Margolyes, 69, Harry Potter and Blackadder actress who has been online for over ten years, commented: 'If you've got an old computer, this is a wonderful opportunity to help someone get online. Older people can get left out; but internet connection helps them to have a better, fuller life. You'll feel terrific and so will they!'

Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK, said: 'Six million people aged 65 and over have never been online before and are missing out on all the benefits that the Internet has to offer. I urge everyone with an old PC or laptop to make a New Year's resolution to get down to their local Age UK shop and show their support for Age UK's work helping people in later life get online. The gift of the Web could transform a life, combating loneliness and isolation and helping people to save money in these difficult times.'

Nickie Smith, Marketing Director, Microsoft Advertising, said; 'Working in the digital media industry it's very easy to forget that millions of people in the UK do live offline, and have no way of accessing the many benefits that the Internet offers. This is a real opportunity for people to do some good by donating their old machines to help someone else.'

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

(1) Research conducted online by One Poll, surveying over 2000 UK adults during 26th-28th November 2010. Data has been weighted to the UK adult population

Age UK

Age UK works in partnership with Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI. For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is inspired by the belief that it can improve the lives of people in later life. It celebrates ageing and believes it presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges at home and abroad. Age UK will challenge ageist prejudice in society, provide services that address market failures and support the public and private sectors to design age-friendly products and services. It will support people to remain in their own homes through campaigning and practical services and its Information and Advice service will offer millions of people support on a range of issues from claiming benefits to staying fit and healthy.

Age UK will fund biomedical research that helps tackle the ill health and poor quality of life that are too common as people age. Working with over 350 partners across the country, Age UK helps influence local decisions and delivers the most appropriate services. Its network of over 475 shops will act as a focal point for the local community, providing information and help with local services. Age UK works across the globe as well as in the UK, with its international partner, Help Age International, championing older people's rights and needs and as an active member of the DEC.

Age UK Digital Inclusion Work

Age UK manages a number of UK-wide digital inclusion programmes, including the Digital Inclusion Network consisting of 190+ partner organisations and Connect with IT, a comprehensive digital inclusion campaign involving itea and biscuits week, myfriends online week, Internet Champion of the Year competition and IT Volunteering. More than 200,000 people in later life have been helped to date.

Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising provides advertisers and publishers with media, tools and services designed to drive deep and profitable engagement with their audiences. The Give Someone Their First Time Online campaign is a natural extension of Microsoft's 'Britain Works' initiative to encourage those online to easily help others get online. Microsoft Advertising led this project and donated millions of page impressions to this campaign across its network of online properties.

Twitter: @firsttimeonline
Facebook: First Time Online

About Race Online 2012

Follow Race Online:

  • The UK's Digital Champion is asking organisations of any size to get involved with Race Online 2012 to ensure everyone can use the web. It's simple to sign up and only takes a few minutes to register and make a digital promise at
  • On June 18th 2010 Martha Lane Fox was appointed by The Prime Minister as the UK Digital Champion with a remit to encourage as many people as possible to go online, and improving the convenience and efficiency of public services by driving online delivery.
  • Digital Inclusion Limited is government funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (through the Community Development Foundation) but is an independent organisation
  • Martha Lane Fox co-founded, Europe's largest travel and leisure website, in 1998. She then went on to co-found and chair the private karaoke chain Lucky Voice. In 2007, she launched Antigone, a grant-giving foundation that supports education, health and criminal justice charities to reflect her commitment to social justice. She is non-executive director at Marks & Spencer plc, Channel 4 Television and Mydeco

Media contact: Andrew Walker
Phone: 020 8765 7512
Out-of-hours: 07071 243 243

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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