REGISTERED charities in County Durham are being offered low-cost laptops and PCs as part of a council-run recycling scheme.

The Digital Durham Reboot initiative sees IT equipment owned by Durham County Council refurbished and made available to registered charities in the area.

As well as helping charities operate more efficiently, the scheme aims to support them in their work to help people get online and improve their skills.

The scheme is run by the council in association with Protech City, which securely removes all council data and licences before testing the equipment and installing software.

Durham Community Association is one of a number of charities that has already purchased equipment through the scheme.

David Lindley, the association’s centre manager, said: “By providing access to low cost, reliable equipment, this scheme is helping the association to run more effectively than we could with our old outdated computer. I’d definitely encourage other charities to see how they could benefit.”

To be eligible, charities must use the equipment to help residents get online by providing free internet access or prove how it will be used to improve residents’ skills. It can be used to enable the charity to be more efficient.

Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, said: “Access to a computer can help charities to operate more efficiently, while for members of the communities they serve it offers the opportunity to learn valuable new digital skills, search and apply for jobs, access a variety of public services and simply stay in touch with others.

“I am delighted we’re able to play our part in such a worthwhile scheme, which not only benefits charities but also the residents they support.”