Government donates 25,000 computers to charity

Computer recycling project to boost IT skills amongst the unemployed

The government donated 25,000 former Jobcentre computers to a cerebral palsy charity on Friday, to raise funds and provide IT training opportunities to people with disabilities.

Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has set aside 17,000 computers to be repaired and sold by the charity Paces. The computers are expected to raise a total of £174,000. Paces will use the remaining computers for its government funded New Deal scheme, allowing disabled people aged between 18 and 24 to receive training in how to rebuild the machines. The refurbished computers will in time be donated to schools and charities.

"The innovative recycling project means that none of the old computers are going to waste", said Blunkett. "The training will give participants valuable skills that will help them lead more independent lives."

The New Deal scheme was launched in April 1998, and encourages young people who have been unemployed for six months, to undertake voluntary activity as a stepping-stone into employment or education. By the end of last year, 274,230 18 to 24 year-olds and 62,570 aged 25 and over had found jobs through the programme.

The computer recycling project has been launched as part of the government's UK Online initiative, which plans to offer universal access to the Internet as well as placing all Government services on the Net. The announcement also coincides with the launch of the goverment employment Web site, and the official opening of 1,200 UK Internet centres, granting public access to online government services.

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