The Making Rooms awarded over £50k to tackle e-waste and help people get online

Published Friday 17 May 2024 at 15:37

Blackburn’s The Making Rooms is celebrating after being awarded a share of £500,000 to help tackle electronic waste and help communities in need get online.  

The creative technology community space received a £55k grant from the Time After Time fund, created by Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity, Hubbub, to boost projects that give unwanted tech a second life and support digital inclusion. 

The Making Rooms has pioneered a project to collect e-waste laptops from local organisations and train the next generation in digital skills.
‘Repair Space Blackburn’ uses the devices to teach community members and young people repair skills. The refurbished equipment is passed on to digitally excluded young people, who are trained to become digitally literate. 

Thomas Macpherson-Pope, Director of The Making Rooms, said:

We saw during the pandemic just how wide the digital divide is between young people in the borough. This funding from Time After Time will allow us to bridge the divide and give excluded young people a solid platform to engage with all the digital skills training opportunities that are available in Blackburn with Darwen. Partnerships like this create a unique opportunity for us to effect change in young people’s lives, whilst reducing and bringing attention to the issues of e-waste.

The organisation was selected as one of eight winners from more than 120 entries by a panel of judges including TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke.

Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

When we first started The Making Rooms eight years ago, we wanted to create an opportunity for people to get their hands on equipment and meet up with like-minded people.

As a Council, we took the view that we would attempt to achieve Net Zero by 2030 and started a variety of activities in that context, including working with The Making Rooms.

Repair Space Blackburn brings alive the idea of repurposing and getting people to think about how they can live sustainably.

What’s going on in The Making Rooms and the Repair Space project is about how we turn big global ideas into a small story for our borough.

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