IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Laptop refurb pair appeal for a permanent base

Tech consultants are fixing up computers before handing them over to disadvantaged families

06 November, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Mercedes Oli and Alex Inglis, who teach coding to pupils in Islington, have fixed hundreds of laptops

TECH consultants who have been rebooting old laptops to donate them to disadvantaged families have issued a plea to the council to help them find a permanent base to continue their work.

Since the first lockdown, Mercedes Oli and Alex Inglis, who teach coding to pupils in Islington, have fixed hundreds of laptops, wiped the data and sent them to schools and children across the borough.

At first they operated out of the Mildmay Community Centre in Woodville Road before they moved to the Peel Institute in Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, but they now have to leave by December 18.

As the Tribune previously reported, schools were dismayed last week when the government cut the number of laptops that had been promised to them.

Ms Oli said she had been in contact with several different council officials for months who had promised a new space for them before cutting off contact.

“Apart from local councillors we have had no support,” she said. “We are looking for a base. A lot of buildings are closed or not being used at the moment, can the council not provide one of those?”

Ms Oli and Mr Inglis need a secure building to safely wipe the data from the laptops.

It is understood that the council denies Ms Oli’s claim that any pressure was put on community centres to evict them.

Instead, a grant of £3,000 was given to the couple’s laptop restoration company Mer-IT in July.

The council also helped them move from Mildmay to the Peel Institute.

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