* North Wales Police Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin visits Wales Recycle I.T at Llangefni to meet Gareth Roberts, Rebekah Lowther and Deborah Mitchell. Picture Mandy Jones
A police boss is appealing to companies and public bodies in North Wales to donate their redundant IT kit to a social enterprise so it can be recycled and given to people who need it.
The plea came from the
region’s police and crime commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, during a visit to North
Wales Recycle IT who have already handed out £35,000-worth of desktops,
laptops, tablets and accessories.
After being repaired or
refurbished, the equipment has been given to nursery groups, school pupils,
charities and elderly people in care homes who are all on the wrong side of a
Although it’s free of
charge, each piece of equipment that’s recycled for the benefit of the
community comes with a 12-month guarantee.
The launch of the service
was particularly timely because the world had been knocked sideways by the
Covid-19 pandemic and education had shifted online, and digital communication
became increasingly important
Among the organisations
that have stepped up to the plate are North Wales Police who have donated 300
bits of kit, mainly desk tops and laptops.
North Wales Recycle IT was
founded by Rebekah and Robin Lowther who also run a successful commercial
information technology company, C1phertech, in Llangefni, which was set up 10
The social enterprise has
provided equipment to organisations across North Wales and needs more
businesses and public sector bodies to help them out so they can keep up with
Operations director Rebekah
said: “Through C1phertech, we deal with a lot of waste treatment facilities in
England and we realised there was nothing here in Wales for recycling redundant
“Companies were coming in
from England, taking the equipment out and charging for the service.
“We wanted to be able to
keep that equipment here in Wales, refurbish it and then give it back out to
people within the community.
“We established the social
enterprise in 2019, fully funded by our commercial company, set it all up and
then we got all our quality certifications and accreditations on the 9th
of March 2020 and then the world went mad.
“We shut down for that first lockdown. We
realised then when we got back in January this year we were shocked to find
just one school down the road said they had 180 pupils with no device in the
“It’s shocking that they would have one phone
between them or one laptop which is fine in normal times if you’re just doing
“The devices donated have been
life-changing for the individuals and families within the communities of North
“Children have continued their
education, individuals were able to communicate with friends and family online
and get essential items delivered to their door.
“Schools have now reopened but
we still need help to bridge the digital divide in North Wales and help those
pupils, families and individuals in need.
“We can reduce social
isolation and open doors for them to communicate, educate and become connected
with the outside world.”
Tech savvy Mr Dunbobbin, who
has a background in IT, was “blown away by the fantastic work” being done by
Rebekah and the team.
He said: “I would urge any
companies or public sector organisations who are upgrading their technology to
donate their redundant desktops, laptops and tablets to North Wales Recycle IT
so they can be refurbished quickly and provided to those in need.
“It’s so good that North
Wales Police donating equipment that is no longer needed by us and is bringing
new use and that really falls in line with the green agenda in terms of
“What they are doing here
is the epitome of social value, helping people across the whole age spectrum –
right through from nursery school tots to elderly people in care homes, and
many others in between.
“The digital divide was
happening anyway, but the pandemic has accelerated the process greatly and
North Wales Recycle IT are doing a brilliant job in helping to bridge that gap.
“I know they are also
looking for more volunteers and if anybody wants to get involved, I’d certainly
encourage them to speak to the people here.”
The hook up with North
Wales Police was championed by Gareth Wynne Roberts, the force’s Deputy ICT
He said: “This is the ideal
partnership for us because we have IT equipment that we no longer need for us
as an organisation.
“We wanted a way to remove
that equipment from our premises, but we wanted to try to give something back
to the community and this enterprise is perfect for us. It allows us to give
back to those who need it the most.
“As well as being a good
thing to do, it also makes my life easier. Having a company on your doorstep
to be able to come to pick up kit at any time – and not charging for it - is
important and I think this relationship is definitely beneficial for both
“Clearly, we have done our part in terms of
security to ensure our information was clear from those machines and ensured
that all security measures were in place as we didn’t want to risk not only
ourselves but also North Wales Recycle IT.
“I’ve worked for North
Wales Police for 18 years and this is one of my proudest moments. “
It was a sentiment echoed
by Deborah Mitchell, one of the social enterprise’s non-executive directors.
She added: “It’s a free service for the organisations around us and what better way to contribute to the local economy than being able to repurpose redundant IT equipment and then give it back to those that are in need in the local community.”