Compute for your group as County Council offers freebie!

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For the first time Essex County Council is offering all community charity groups across the county the chance to secure free computers.

The council are modernising their information services and a number of devices they own will no longer be suitable for their purposes.

Councillors have chosen to support Essex residents to increase their computer literacy and encourage internet access amongst those people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Charities are encouraged to apply for the computers provided they meet the following criteria:

• A computer or an additional one would enhance the services their project delivers.

• They are a registered charity.

• They support people in Essex.

Therefore, if you are aware of any eligible organisations, such as older people's schemes for ICT literacy, pre and after school clubs and ICT projects, you are advised to act quickly to secure your free equipment.

County Councillor John Jower responsible for Communities and Planning said: ''This scheme offers the opportunity to support our voluntary bodies through the use of equipment which is still very much in demand. This is a great project and I would urge Essex charities and voluntary groups to register their interest as soon as possible to take advantage of the scheme.''

The computers to be donated will be cleaned of all council data to UK security standards, then refurbished and loaded with charity licenced software in preparation for the use of the groups receiving them.

All computers will be given on the understanding that the charity assumes ownership and full responsibility for the use and maintenance of the equipment.

The charity would also have to collect and install the equipment and agree not to give or sell any of it on, and eventually dispose of it legally when it is no longer required. There will be a simple document to sign with regard to this agreement.

A limited number of computers will be available so distribution is restricted to no more than five computers for each charity.

The computers will be released for refurbishment and distribution gradually over the next 12 months, so the council will maintain a waiting list.

Eligible organisations can apply online at:…

You can check the available computer specifications and find further details by visiting:…

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