A group of Oswestry businesses has joined forces to help local pupils get the most out of their lockdown learning.

Oswestry Herbarium, IT support services company 8bits1byte, and JL Tyres have so far taken delivery of over 50 donated laptops and computers which have been refurbished for the area’s schools.

The schools then distribute the IT equipment to pupils who need it for their online lockdown learning.

The companies – all under the same ownership – have volunteered to take part in the BBC’s Make a Difference, Give a Laptop scheme where people with spare laptops, PCs or printers can donate them for refurbishment and distribution to local schools.

Louise Idoux of Oswestry Herbarium in Albion Hill, Oswestry, explained that JL Tyres and the herbarium had acted as drop off points for laptops which had then been given a new lease of life by Aden Walker at 8bits1byte.

“The IT company is very new – it was only set up at the end of last year – but we all really wanted to do something to help during lockdown.

“We heard about the BBC scheme and realised that there are so many families where one phone or laptop is being shared between several children. This scheme helps to give all children and young people an equal chance to keep up with their online studies during lockdown,” said Louise.

“We’ve been amazed by the response. People have been really generous and the schools have been extremely grateful,” she added.

So far they have been able to hand out 31 laptops and 12 PCs with monitors, keyboards and mice.  These have been donated to Weston Rhyn Primary School, Holy Trinity Primary Academy in Oswestry, Morda Primary School and  St John The Baptist CE Primary School, Ruyton-XI-Towns. Two local students have also received printers.

Aden Walker of 8bits1byte, based at Whittington Business Park, said that there were still a further 10 laptops ready to go out to local schools.

“I also have a number of laptops, which while working, have dead batteries or incompatible WiFi  so require an external adapter to work,” he said.

He has set up an Amazon wish list at  https://amzn.eu/0dAXcm7 where people can buy and donate replacement parts for the laptops as part of the scheme.

“It’s not just the number of donations that has taken us by surprise but the amazing way so many people have bought the spare parts we need to make them usable through the Amazon Wish List scheme. Everyone has been so generous,” said Louise.

Anyone who would like to donate a laptop or PC can find the equipment donation form on the 8bits1byte website at www.8bits1byte.co.uk.  The three businesses are also operating a collection scheme for donated equipment.

Pictured: Louise Idoux and Aden Walker with some of the refurbished laptops and PCs for Oswestry area schools.