NASA Space Apps Challenge success 2023!

Over 50 people registered for the Bristol event this year, forming 12 teams and tackling challenges from planning a 6 year party through to predicting geomagnetic storms. We also welcomed 3 ‘critical friends’ as judges bringing experience from aerospace, data, games design, systems, investing, and more.

A core part of what DigiLocal aims to provide for marginalised young people are the opportunities that many take for granted. Events like the NASA Space Apps Challenge would normally not be visible for those families. DigiLocal has been the Local Lead for Bristol since 2020, ensuring that our young people have access to these amazing opportunities.

Parents and volunteers were notified of the event in August when we were successful with our bid to be the 2023 Local Lead. This allowed people plenty of time to help prepare the young people.

How do you prepare for an event like the NASA Space Apps Challenge? Largely by attempting new projects that don’t follow one of our prepared guides. Setting a challenge objective to build a new game. The volunteers mentor the young people through the problem solving challenges they face, relating back to the known solutions from the guides and showing how they can be generalised to other challenges.

That resilience is vital when faced with a blank coding screen and only 40 hrs to complete a new project!

It’s also important to pace yourself. We made sure during the event that young people took breaks during the day, and we don’t run over night (though many did carry on working from home after dinner).

The event was kindly hosted by the University of the West of England in their fantastic co-working project hub ‘The Works’. This space provides a wide variety of pods, tables, desks, and general space for everyone to find their own area to work in. We also had plenty of catering options right outside to keep everyone fed and watered throughout.

In addition to the young people from our clubs, we also welcomed engineers, scientists, and developers from local companies and Universities.

Over the 2 days (7-8 Oct) everyone worked incredibly hard on their projects. Several teams pooled knowledge and helped out other teams along the way. We had some late entries and lots of fun!

The local awards from this year’s event were:

Global Nominee (Bristol) & Best use of Data

Stormy Skies (Bashitha)

Smart Analyzer is an application that can predict geomagnetic storms using raw DSCOVR data directly as input. It uses a deep learning to predict the planetary index after analyzing a provided DSCOVR raw record. Smart Analyzer classifies this predicted planetary index to determine whether a geomagnetic storm is going to occur and if so, it’s severity. Using the corresponding speed of the solar wind at the relevant point in time, it also calculates how long it’s going to take for the predicted geomagnetic storm to occur. The application unleashes the power of machine learning (the core of artificial intelligence) to help address a major modern challenge.

Smart analyzer is a .NET Core console application written in C# and it was created in Visual Studio 2022. ML.NET was used to create and train the machine learning regression model used by the software. The dataset that was used to train the model consists of raw DSCOVR data from the experimental data repository and the corresponding planetary index values that were obtained from the CDAWeb Data Explorer. The raw data and the planetary index values were merged to create the final dataset which consists of around 800000 rows. A one hour time shift was also performed on the two datasets before the merging to ensure that the values are correctly aligned. When a purely raw data record from DSCOVR and the solar wind speed at that point in time is provided, the application uses the deep learning model to predict a value for the planetary (Kp) index. It classifies the the Kp index according to the standards used by NOAA to state whether a geomagnetic storm is going to occur, and if so, whether it’s going to be minor, strong, severe or extreme. With the solar wind speed, it will calculate how long it’s going to take (in hours to one decimal) for the storm to occur.

This is an extremely successful but relatively simple approach to address this issue. An application/software component like this can be simply plugged into a NASA system on earth or a satellite to get real time predictions with real time data.

People’s Choice & Global Connection

Girls in Black (Primrose)

We want to create a free open sourced document available to all, so decided on a PDF Party Plan tool data base that can be downloaded direct from the HTTP:// website, making our party package accessible to everyone. The database would contain both educational, fun and engaging information and activities that should enabled anyone to prepare and host a party for a wide verity of end users, and educate them about elements of space covering asteroids, Psyche 16 and the spacecraft that has been sent there to investigate it in fun, imaginative and creative ways. 

Honorable Mentions

Best use of Science

Team Casini (Ece, Victor, John, Freya, Ibrahim, William)

An interactive website aimed at young and old to immerse them in the sounds of space, allowing users to collaborate and select different sounds to mashup and listen to space together. This project furthermore is designed with accessibility in mind, where it affords those with disability such as poor vision, to still partake in sharing the experience of enjoying the universe through sound. Finally, in future this algorithm could have the potential to be used in some form of early warning system, where fluctuations in audio can alert engineers and scientists to solar anomalies and the like, sooner than they can be observed by orthodox methods as seen in existing nuclear accident prevention systems.

Best use of Art and Technology

untextured (Sonny)

A game based on the fact that phytoplankton on the surface of the ocean photosynthesize, and create oxygen via sunlight and CO2. There are animal themed upgrades meant to symbolise the carbon dioxide and plankton themed upgrades to show the conversions.

Runners up

Local Impact

Eclipses (Imogen)

I have made a website that answers some questions about eclipses and then at the end, there is a quick scratch game I made. I used HTML to use videos, images, and formatting.

Best Mission Concept

Work In Progress (Thomas, Raymond)

We want to created an educational game that lets users to create their own exoplanet, allowing them to envision what life would be like (if any) on a world of there own making/design. Users play with the aim of making a planet that will sustain life for the longest time possible, but also to see how interesting this life on this new place could be. In total the game includes these feature: 1) create a planet of their choosing (this is done using sliders see miro board for app design) 2) create / import actual planet by matching the variables to current NASA data of said planets 3) compare the variables of the environment of their planet with current planets data provide by NASA and see if how their designed planet is likely to evolve over time. 

Best Storytelling

The Bubble Squad (Yashna)

Working on a scratch project, all about climate change and all about the global warming and to tell people to take care of our planet

ArchiEngies (Adriana, Anna-Tereza, Sophia, Nina, Diana)

The team comprised of Sophia(aged 8), Anna(aged 10) and Diana(aged 8) and two mums Adriana and Nina took the challenge of the VR application. The girls took a stab at GMAT and created the script for an elliptical trajectory around earth. VR connection from GMAT was not obvious so instead the girls explored with the existing features in the VR set.

Cosmic Codebreakers (Liam, John, George, Reece)

Unity game in first person showing an experience on the moon Titan, showing how it could look and allows you to explore and collect artifacts for scientific research. Solves the challenge by giving the player an experience of Titan and having to replenish oxygen to survive.

Unplaced teams

A number of teams joined the challenge but did not enter the Global Judging part of the weekend. This included Pierogi People, Future Space, and Teen Titans(+1) 

BAFTA Young Games Designer success for Alex

DigiLocal clubs run throughout the year, with loads of cool projects for young people to build. We also encourage people to enter external challenges. This is a great way of stretching your coding & problem solving skills!

One great example of an external challenge is the BAFTA Young Games Designer competition. This runs every year with two categories of Game Concept, and Game Maker, each for young designers between 10-14 years old and 15-18 years old. In the past we’ve had success with our young people in both categories, and we’ve also had Nominated Mentors recognised for the support our volunteers give.

Alex coding his game SerialBus

This year it was the turn of Alex to succeed with his game ‘SerialBus’ in the Game Maker 10-14 years category. We caught up with Alex between his many media appearances as the latest star games developer to ask how he began with DigiLocal and what he enjoyed about the sessions.

I heard about DigiDocal from a friend in primary school so I signed up to my local club and from there I just found making games really fun…

(I really enjoyed) meeting new people and challenging myself.

Alex attended our club at Yate Library for nearly 2 years before COVID-19 lockdown. During COVID he attended our online club sessions.

DigiLocal projects start with very simple introduction activities on Scratch and extend through to very complex projects in Python. We wanted to ask what he found challenging about the club sessions and the projects?

I was a bit confused in the beginning about how things worked, but I definitely grew from my experiences

Coming up with a great idea is often challenging for folks. How did you arrive at yours, and can you tell us a little more about the game?

“Use the idea generation cards that they provide – they’re really helpful! Explore the YGD website as there’s loads of information there”

The game is called serialbus and its about being stuck inside of a computer …

the only way out is through the usb (universal *serial bus*) port on the computer …

your character must explore the circuitry of the machine to find their way out.

Although only 13, we want to know if Alex had any plans once he leaves school?

I want to go to uni and start a business

We’re sure lots of businesses will be watching out for his next release!

Finally we asked if he had any tips as a BAFTA YGD Winner for other young people considering the competition. He shared these tips for entering YGD:

Get started early! It will often take longer than you think!

make sure the game will be enjoyable to play!’

You can view the recorded stream from BAFTA announcing Alex’s win below.

DigiLocal Announces Support from Tech Consultancy Grand Bridges 

DigiLocal has announced that specialist technology marcoms consultancy Grand Bridges is supporting the charity in its work to give marginalised young people the opportunity to discover and grow their digital talents.   

DigiLocal is a Bristol charity charged with supporting marginalised young people in developing their problem solving skills and building resilience through weekly, free, community-hosted coding clubs with volunteer mentors from industry. This provides those young people with opportunities they otherwise would not have access to, and industry with a diverse range of future employees.

We cannot thank you enough for the knowledge and experience that being part of Digilocal has given to Charlie ….  [He] is doing really well with his Computer Science GCSE and iMedia and is planning to stay on at school next year to do A-Levels in Computer Science, Maths and Physics, with the hope of a future in Software Development. He has had a couple of interviews at school and attended a few Apprenticeship open evenings and they have been so impressed by the coding and Python he has learned through being part of DigiLocal and the experiences such as the NASA Code Jam that you have offered him.

Gemma (Charlie’s mum)

Grand Bridges CEO, Simon Flatt states: “As a consultancy specialising in the electronics sector we understand the fundamental need to encourage people from all backgrounds to engage with and build a passion for technology. We are pleased to support the work that Digilocal does to ensure that nobody is prevented from having access to the tools and mentorship they need to achieve this.”  

In addition to the weekly clubs, DigiLocal has distributed over 2,000 laptops to disadvantaged young people. These have been donated by members of the general public and businesses local to Bristol. DigiLocal then repurposes them by data cleansing and installing a new operating system and software. They are then gifted to disadvantaged young people by charities and social organisations working directly within key communities.

Grand Bridges works across the tech sector and is very aware of the skills challenges facing high-growth and established global firms alike. Supporting DigiLocal allows them to contribute to tackling that challenge by engaging children from eight years old with fun projects in Scratch and Python. This ensures that when young people are making career decisions, the tech options are there for them.

Charity CEO John Bradford commented “Our clubs run throughout the year with young people welcome to attend as long as they are enjoying themselves and making progress. This investment in young people and their communities is critical to DigiLocal’s success and we’re very excited that Grand Bridges is getting behind us and the future generations of tech innovators.”

  • Ends –

About Digilocal

DigiLocal® is an independent registered charity (Reg: 1185746) for the public benefit, to advance the education of young people in the UK from groups that are under-represented within the technology industry, in particular but not exclusively, by supporting free technology clubs. It supports communities to run free tech clubs for their young people. Its mission is to support a tech club for young people with every community in the UK that would like to provide one.

About Grand Bridges Marketing

Grand Bridges Marketing is a results-oriented technology marcoms consultancy dedicated to helping high-tech businesses build powerful global brands and develop effective new product introduction and go-to-market strategies. From start-ups to established players, Grand Bridges provides a truly unique outsourced marcom model, offloading the burden of campaign planning and execution to free up internal resources to concentrate on what they do best.

DigiLocal welcomes Sharon Foster JP as new Patron

Sharon is passionate about opportunities for education for children and young people. She has been a school governor and she is also a Trustee of Beira Mozambique Trust, a project of the Southern African Resources Centre.

DigiLocal exists to support marginalised young people in discovering and developing their digital talents. We support communities in hosting free coding clubs for their young people, and provide repurposed laptops for home access to educational online resources.

We are both working to give young people the confidence and opportunities to realise their potential.

In a meeting just after her appointment as High Sheriff of Bristol, we discussed her ambition to focus on young people suspended or excluded from formal education within Bristol. DigiLocal has worked with many of the agencies in place to support young people since we launched in 2015, both supporting community based clubs and through provision of repurposed laptops for home access to online education. There was a lot of connection sharing and idea formulating on how we could work to better support those excluded and suspended young people.

While the absolute number of young people permanently excluded is low, the impact on those young people is undeniably significant. Equally worrying are the large, and rising, number of young people suspended from school for varying periods of time. Once thing the COVID-19 pandemic threw into stark relief was the impact on young people of being excluded from education and social interactions at school.

Bristol is unfortunately well above the national average for suspensions. The data from DfE also indicates that young people from Black African, and / or, those on Free School Meals are disproportionately represented in the suspensions. DigiLocal doesn’t filter attendance by ethnic or social economic background but both identified groups are ones that our clubs are very familiar with.

DigiLocal will be working with Sharon and other partners to try and provide additional educational support for those young people.

We wish Sharon every success as High Sheriff of Bristol and look forward to a long and position partnership for the city region.

The report from CHOPSY, analysing the DfE data for 2021/2022 was used in the above assertions. (accessed 18 May 2023, 09:31 UTC+1)

Evaluating resilience & problem solving

Disclaimer: This is not a formal, rigorous academic study. It is an attempt by a small charity to understand how young people might be benefitting from our activities, beyond the qualitative feedback we receive in-club and from parents.

We began asking young people to complete a resilience feedback form in February 2021. This is voluntary and anonymous to our volunteer mentors. The evaluation form was developed in partnership with University of Bristol student as part of a community engagement placement.

Since then we have collected data on 242 project completions (n=76 young people). Of these data sets, 14 contain >5 data points (project evaluations). The evaluation is not intended to assign an absolute score for a young person’s resilience.

Each snapshot has 3 key pieces of information (4 if you include the timestamp). We haven’t included timestamps as they could be used to identify young people (attendance on specific evenings equating to a particular club session).

The three pieces of information are:

  1. project complexity,
  2. confidence in completing the project, and
  3. support from volunteers in completing the project

Our projects are (roughly) ordered from easy to more complex. This happens across three difficult ‘levels’, White, Yellow, Blue. This general colour grading allows volunteers to quickly recognise the relative complexity of the project the young person is working on, and suggest other projects to undertake.

The null hypothesis is that if our activities are of no benefit, then young people should be less confident / require more volunteer support as projects get more complex.

Fortunately, none of the data sets show this!

There are some interesting profiles that can be seen within the data.

‘Aha moment’

This chat shows an ‘aha’ moment on completion of our ‘Painting with Scratch’ project. This is classed as a starter project, but is actually quite complex. There is an important element of abstraction involved, with a single sprite (the pen) being controlled by several other sprites (the buttons).

The subsequent dip is the transition from White (starter) projects, to Yellow (intermediate) projects. Sentence Creator, and Secret Messages, are both quite complex list manipulation projects in Scratch. However, confidence is maintained and increases with Balloon Pop (introduces cloning) and password generator (more lists and string contamination).

Throughout this journey, the mentor support has been sustained.


This chart shows a young person’s journey from Scratch to Python over nearly 10 months. The project titles are hard to read but the last one is the transition to Python with ‘Hello World’.

The decreasing support over the first few projects suggests that they were making good progress and not requiring additional support. Their confidence remains high throughout. Password Generator, and Clone Wars are conceptually challenging projects, reflecting the increased volunteer support given.

The Memory Game (the second confidence uptick) is often a challenge for young people as there’s an abstraction between the main sprite and the buttons you press depending on the sequence of random values chosen. Once that is overcome, it’s relatively easy to complete and is a great springboard to more complex projects. 

The flat line over the last few projects suggests that the young person’s confidence is matched to the increasingly challenging projects. The uptick on completing their first python project ‘Hello World’, shows a significant increase in confidence on transition to python. This is likely due to their experiences and successes in Scratch previously.

More profiles

As we continue to collect data, we’ll continue to post interesting profiles to demonstration different trajectories through our projects.

More success for DigiLocal young people

DigiLocal is supporting young people to discover and develop their digital talents. We provide young people from under-represented groups in the tech industry with opportunities to develop their problem solving skills and build resilience.

In addition to our weekly community based clubs, we also provide external opportunities such as the European Astro Pi Challenge – Mission Zero.

Mission Zero offers participants up to 19 years old the chance to have their code run on the International Space Station!

External challenges help young people see the real-world application of their club activities. With our support they can, literally in this case, reach for the stars.

Dr John Bradford, CEO, DigiLocal

Teams or individuals write a python program to display a message and take environmental reading on an Astro Pi computer. These messages and readings are displayed to the astronauts as they go about their daily tasks on the ISS.

There are strict requirements that the code run without errors, complete it’s display within 30 seconds, and be efficiently coded.

Each year we support teams of young people to discover and participate in the Mission Zero Challenge. This year we had 6 teams taking part from across Bristol.

“We’ve really enjoyed attending… It’s so much fun. We started using scratch and then moved on to Python, which is more challenging. We specially like the competitions.”

Aycel & Kanzy (aged 11 & 9 yrs)

Each team receives a high quality certificate with a map on the reverse showing where the ISS was when their code ran (and yes, the maps are all different, showing exact times / locations – as you’d expect from a space station)!

About Digilocal

DigiLocal® is an independent registered charity (Reg: 1185746) for the public benefit, to advance the education of young people in the UK from groups that are under-represented within the technology industry, in particular but not exclusively, by supporting free technology clubs. It supports communities to run free tech clubs for their young people. Its mission is to support a tech club for young people with every community in the UK that would like to provide one.

European Astro Pi Challenge

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station (ISS).

And the winner is … DigiLocal

Huge thank you to Tech South West and category sponsors BoostCo for our award for Commitment to Diversity.

Our purpose is to give underrepresented young people the opportunity to discover and develop their digital talents.

All of our community based clubs start with … a lead community organisation. This ensures that we are genuinely addressing local needs, and not simply dropping in a ‘cookie cutter’ solution dreamt up in a focus group. Our communities are as diverse as the people within them and what works in one location may not work in another.

At the core of our clubs, and our whole purpose, are our young people. We want to support them on their journey of developing their problem solving skills and building resilience. That journey isn’t a single point of contact; we’re in it for the long haul. Most of our clubs start at age 8 years and some of our young people have been attending for over 4 years. We’ve even begun to place young people with paid internships.

Some of our young people are into developing narrative games and flourish with the BAFTA Young Games Designer competitions, others are more data-driven and excel in the NASA Space Apps Challenge.

As long as they are enjoying themselves and moving on to more challenging projects, we’ll keep finding cool challenges for them.

One of the major barriers for greater diversity in tech is the opportunity to access resources from home. Since the first COVID-19 lockdown we have worked with a wide range of partners to source, repurpose, and onward gift over 1,000 laptops to young people and families. This work is ongoing and represents a vital component of our support for underrepresented young people.

In parallel to the laptop repurposing, we launched DigiLocal Online and have hosted an online coding session every night of the week (and two sessions on Saturdays) since March 2020. Those sessions have provided a vital point of stability for some young people over the pandemic and will continue to support young people into the future.

As an organisation we also want to be a place that celebrates diversity, and everyone is present because of the value they bring to our mission.

Our trustees bring a range of vital knowledge, skills, and experiences to ensure that our clubs address the needs of young people from diverse communities, as well as the diverse industries they will eventually find themselves. Having a diverse Board of Trustees is vital to building a resilient and purposeful organisation and I’m grateful to all of them for their time, support, and critical friendship in building DigiLocal.

Beyond our Board of Trustees, we also host a Youth Advisory Board and a Community Advisory Board. These advisory boards report directly to the Board of Trustees and their suggestions shape our strategic business planning for the charity. Each advisory board is chaired by a named Trustee and has an open agenda to consider anything that may help DigiLocal better support underrepresented young people to discover and develop their digital talents.

We rely completely on our fantastic volunteer STEM mentors to deliver club sessions. Many are developers and engineers with companies in Bristol and around the UK, but all are committed to supporting young people and nurturing a passion for problem solving and working with tech.

In addition to the Commitment to Diversity Award, we are thrilled to have been the Bristol and Bath Cluster Winner as well. We work closely with the tech cluster champions such as TechSpark and many of the amazing firms in the region so it’s fantastic to be recognised by them specifically.

If you’d like to be part of our journey, please get in touch.

Thanks again to Tech South West and all involved in the awards and the tech scene in the region.

The Benefits of Coding for Children

We’re delighted to be featured in Twinkl’s recent blog – The Benefits of Coding for Children. Read the full article on their website with contributions from other leading organisations that are supporting young coders.

We also contributed to their Q&A, with the following contributions:

Why is it important for children to learn to code?

A good coder is able to take a complex problem, and clearly describe a solution. They learn how to break large impossibles into manageable challenges. When things don’t go as expected, they review those expectations against what actually happened, and devise how to reconcile the two. It is these core problem solving skills and internal resilience that learning to code can develop in young people. Those skills are vital to being a good coder, and almost any career today or tomorrow.

What interests you the most about coding that can encourage children to get involved?

Coding is about making stuff happen. So we build games and other cool stuff. We start with Scratch, which is drag’n’drop coding, and work up to python which is a full coding language.

Coding is also about expressing who you are as a person. So we encourage young people to take our projects and make them their own. That could be changing a few colours and sprites, through to imaging a whole new world to explore.

What are some benefits of coding that can improve a child’s development?

Coding requires good reading, comprehension, and functional maths. All our projects have companion guides to follow, so young people can learn at their own pace but have to read and follow instructions. Our guides are written for young people and explain concepts clearly, but use technical language so that it becomes familiar. Coding also encourages teamwork and idea sharing. Many challenges are simply too large for anyone to tackle alone, so forming a team is the only solution.

Check out their other educational resources on Coding here.

1001 laptops gifted to young people

It wasn’t until I did the final check and paperwork for the batch of laptops I was about to take to the Bristol Somali Resource Centre, that I realised we were about to deliver our 1000th laptop (and our 1001st) as part of the re-purposing activity that we launched in 2020!

No achievement like this is the result of any one individual. From a friend-of-a-friend connection back in July 2020, we were introduced to Cllr Cleo Lake and her initiative #GiveNTech. She had already secured a batch of laptops, and negotiated with the Avon Fire & Rescue Service to use their permanent Stations as public collection points. Vaughn Jenkins and the extended team at Avon Fire & Rescue have been amazing partners ever since; collecting, storing, transporting, and promoting the initiative.

Cleo was looking for a partner to help setup the laptops suitable for young people and that was where we joined in. Having run coding clubs for young people over the past 5 years, I like to think we have some experience of that topic.

We already had our own smaller initiative where we had loaned out our 30 club laptops to young people impacted by COVID and the digital divide. However, this was a slightly different operation, significant in that we were accepting public donations and onward gifting their ownership. We needed to make sure this was conducted in a legal manner.

One of our Patron’s at DigiLocal is Dr John Manley, at the time High Sheriff of Bristol. He was launching a new initiative of his own, Asking Bristol, to pair small charities with the wealth of experience across the city. We put a request together an received some fantastic advice and draft documents from Nick Williams (DAC Beachcroft). We’ve used those forms on all +1000 laptops that have gone out to ensure a proper legal chain of ownership.

The initial donation that Cleo secured was a fantastic start, but we knew from the outset the challenge was larger than any one donor could address. Since then we’ve received laptops from over 500 individual and corporate donors. The people of Bristol responded amazingly to the need of those in their city, with generosity and enthusiasm. In addition to the Fire Stations, we’ve had a fantastic engagement with a number of churches that have included laptop collections as part of their community response activities.

The business community has also rallied round the initiative. With strategic support from Business West and James Durie, several regional firms are now planning their IT refresh policies to include re-purposing through DigiLocal, rather then disposal.

We also knew that no one organisation is working with every young person suffering from digital poverty. Through the amazing community networks of Bristol, we’ve gifted laptops through over 40 charities and community partners across Bristol. Each one is directly connected to their immediate community and knows the individuals and families that are in need of digital equipment for their young people. This has allowed us to quickly and confidently distribute laptops.

Thank you for the beautifil(sic) precious laptop, its really helping me doing my home school.

Saad BS1

Perhaps unseen, but very much a vital part of the story are the nearly 40 volunteers that give their time over the past year to re-purpose the laptop for young people. Several were already volunteering for DigiLocal as Ambassadors for our coding clubs, but many were new to volunteering. They are still giving their time and I am personally hugely grateful to them.

Getting the word out is a vital part of this kind of operation and I’m no expert in media comms! Fortunately we started working with the team at Bristol 24/7 who ran several articles about the initiative. In January we picked up some interest from the BBC as part of their #MakeADifference campaign and that was my first real experience of what national media coverage can do! We quickly grew the number of repurposed laptops distributed to over 650!

The story isn’t over yet. Digital poverty didn’t start with COVID-19, and isn’t going to end in the summer ’21.

We still have communities and young people without home access to a laptop for their education. There are great plans for catch up tuition and provision, but they all rely on digital connectivity and access. Digital inclusion has been recognised by Bristol City Council as a strategic imperative within their One City Plan.

We’re still re-purposing laptops and onward gifting them through our community partners.

If you have a laptop that could be reused by a young people, please do consider our re-purposing. If your business is refreshing your IT provision and thinking about disposing of ‘old’ kit, please have a chat with us.

It really could transform a young person’s life opportunities.

Over £325k worth of laptops distributed to disadvantaged young people to tackle digital poverty

We passed a significant milestone with distributed over 650 laptops to disadvantaged young people in the Bristol region. This represents over £325,000 worth of donated equipment!

In response to young people in digital poverty, DigiLocal has been coordinating a laptop repurposing initiative. Laptops have been donated by members of the general public and businesses local to Bristol. DigiLocal then repurposes them by data cleansing and installing a new operating system and software. They are then gifted to disadvantaged young people by charities and social organisations working directly within key communities.

“My name is Sajid and my experience with the laptop has been great. It has helped me with my schoolwork a lot at home. It’s very fast and efficient and is easy to load websites on. Thank you very much.” Young person in Redcliffe

Charity CEO John Bradford commented “The COVID-19 pandemic has crystalised digital poverty as a widely recognised issue for young people across the UK. We were able to quickly address this in our region by working with key partners. The generosity of the Bristol public and businesses has been fantastic. We’re now building a sustainable system to ensure that no young person is excluded from education through lack of digital access.”

Digilocal has been operating in the West of England for the past five years, becoming a charity in 2019. It seeks to bring digital skills to the heart of communities, operating free to attend coding clubs for children within over 14 local community centres.  Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Digilocal has been hosting sessions online every weekday evening for children who want to learn coding skills.

This work was kindly supported in part by the Quartet Community Foundation.