A donation of four refurbished laptops is helping Merthyr Valley Homes residents get online and join the digital revolution.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, made the donation to help digitally-excluded residents across the county get online and reap the social benefits of the internet.

Wales & West Utilities partnered with Digital Communities Wales, a Welsh Government funded project, which provides free digital inclusion training to organisations across Wales that work with digitally excluded groups. Their advisors train frontline staff and volunteers, including customer advisors, tenant support officers and librarians, so they can confidently show people how to use technology.

The laptops, which have now all been refurbished, will now be distributed via Merthyr Valley Homes to tenants through the Loan A Laptop programme. The project is being piloted with social landlords across Wales and is targeting those tenants who are hardest to reach.

Martin Peareth, a member of the Wales & West Utilities IT team, worked to support the programme and explains:

“As an organisation we have a surplus of older laptops that we no longer need but are still in a good condition. When we learnt of Loan a Laptop and the benefit they could bring to people across Welsh communities, we jumped at the chance to help.”

The Digital Communities Wales project, delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, has been running for over two years and has already helped hundreds of adults across Wales get online.

Stephanie Davies, Digital Communities Wales advisor at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“With nearly one in five adults in Wales still not online, they are missing out on opportunities to save money, look for work, find information, keep in touch with family, learn new skills and access important services. And with many of them already dealing with issues such as isolation, poverty or unemployment, our project helps to address the social inclusion element which has a positive knock-on effect to people’s lives.”

This summer Wales & West Utilities want your views on the future of your gas network and the services they provide. Go to PipeUpOnline.co.uk to let them know what you think today and be in with a chance to win a £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.

For more information on Digital Communities Wales and how your organisation can access free digital inclusion training and support, please visit http://digitalcommunities.gov.wales