Resource Use

ONS and Wastesavers find new homes for old IT equipment in local South Wales community

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has partnered with South Wales charity Wastesavers to redistribute old IT equipment to local residents in need.

With several thousand staff across three offices based in Newport, London, and Titchfield, the ONS wanted a more sustainable way to dispose of its old machines when upgrading staff computers.

Peter Hill of Raven's House Trust holding an ONS-donated iPadThe programme was launched by the ONS’ Newport-based headquarters, with the partnership set to be extended to the other ONS offices later this summer.

The Raven House Trust, a food bank in Newport, was one of the first charities to take advantage of the programme. Peter Hill, a driver for the Trust, said the donated iPad made a ‘huge difference almost immediately’.

He said: “Part of our problem was our location in an old shop. Our stock is spread over two levels in a section of the building that only has one electric plug!

“We were using sheets of paper to keep track of stock levels, but as our operation grew this was becoming more difficult. We’ve seen a 320 per cent rise in demand over the last year alone.

“Our volunteers can now keep track of donations and stock in a clear and simple way. No more bits of paper getting lost. Having the iPad has also enabled us to be able to take card payments. Before we could only take cash.

“I would say the iPad from the ONS has been a real game changer for us.”

Another local charity, Rewild Play, runs a community forest school project. Outlining the big difference technology makes to small charities, project coordinator Sian Lewis-Evans said: "Many of the children we work with suffer from a range of emotional and mental health problems, from ADHD to acute anxiety.

"For them, direct eye contact can cause a sensory overload and actually aggravate their conditions. The iPad allows them to communicate without eye contact. This will undoubtedly help with their communication skills and confidence generally."

Scott Howell, Deputy Director of Business Enablers at the ONS, said: "Sustainability is important to the ONS, being chosen as one of our four central values in our most recent strategy. When we upgraded our IT equipment we knew there had to be a better way than simply throwing old machines out.

"We are delighted that with the help of Wastesavers our old devices are being put to good use helping organisations and communities near our Newport headquarters."
Alun Harries, Charity manager with Wastesavers, added: "We are really pleased to be able to announce this new partnership with the ONS.

"It's very satisfying to see these computers being put to such good use and making a real difference in people's lives here in south Wales, and we're really looking forward to expanding this programme in Hampshire and London with the ONS."