Calling for spare laptops for local schools

Word has come around that local schools are running out of laptops to lend to students to enable their remote learning during this shutdown.

One of the Forest Hill Society team has begun refurbishing laptops & desktops for SE23 children in need of remote learning capability especially after advice that one school will have run out of donated kit by lunchtime today and still has a deficit of about 200.

If you have an old lap top, desk top or even tablet lying unused in a cupboard or drawer would you be willing to donate it? We will collect, reconfigure, re-install and distribute where needed. Base requirement is that it has a webcam and a power supply, and is powerful enough to run Zoom. Every one means another child is linked in to remote teaching.

Drop us an email at

Special thanks to local John Doherty who is doing the reconfiguring and to @clausy who has stepped up his daily cycling to collect them.

Big THANK YOU to those who have already made contributions or are about to. Ten were donated today and a further six are already scheduled for pickup tomorrow.


@starman what a great initiative. We were just looking for somewhere to donate a tablet to; this is perfect!


The government system for distribution for devices is flawed at best. Of the 2 local schools that i work in, only 1 has received its rather paltry full allocation of 28 devices. We along with our IT partner have as @John Doherty modified old laptops, but now these have run out. It is ridiculous to expect children to access online learning via smart phones etc.

I am also available for pick up or donations, just pm me and let me know.


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This is a brilliant scheme but can we move past the politics/government side of things please before it all goes Pete Tong as it usually does,


Do you have an age limit on devices? My laptop may be past the grave- it still works but is on vista, possibly this is a bridge too far…

Do you only want laptops? I have a newer desktop that is more powerful but…

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Hi Lee… desk tops also accepted. I don’t think age matters as long as it has a webcam, charger or cable and can support Zoom.

Email us at

And thank you.


I recently read that it’s possible to reimage an old laptop (with an out-of-date Windows operating system) to become a Chromebook. Might this be an option for very old laptops with a low spec? I can’t vouch for how secure the new software is.

Do they definitely all need webcams? At my children’s primary school all the lessons are pre-recorded so there is no need for a webcam. Accept this might be different for the school you are sourcing for, but just wanted to check this wasn’t a default left in if it wasn’t really needed.

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I think John is working on the principle that kids should at least have one face-time session with a teacher each day, which I suppose could be done on a smart phone or a parent’s laptop (if either available). If you have something without a web cam, do email us and I’ll let John and Claus respond to whether it could be suitable.

Great idea. John is checking into that. If you have any insight yourself, please email us with hints. We could connect you to John directly who is doing the refurb work.

It would be Chromium (but effectively the same thing) There’s instructions here:


Fair enough. I don’t have one but was going to ask a former colleague if they had any. It’s a long shot, but if they did suspect it would be mainly desktops and therefore no webcams. No worries!

Thanks everyone, picked up another 5 laptops and an iPad today, dropped off with John for reformatting and prepping. At least a couple sourced from this post. Participation much appreciated.


Big thanks to everyone involved in this initiative - what a difference it will make for the kids who get a device.


Thank you Forest Hill for you many donations. Great community spirit.

(we can always use more).


Thanks everyone. At least a couple of people contacted us from this post too.

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