Frequently asked questions

Donations

Does the device need to be working?


The best way to find out is by completing this simple form with as much detail as possible. We try to reply within 7 days. We will be doing a fresh install on donated devices, so they need to be able to start OK and run without too many problems when we receive them. However, even computers which cannot be turned on often have useful parts we can use on other devices. When it comes to iPhones, we can use iPhone 5 and up. (We also accept iPhone 4 but distribute them for use only as basic mobiles for phoning and sending text messages. This is because they can no longer be properly updated, so are open to many vulnerabilities). If a mobile or tablet screen is cracked but usable, we’ll be happy to consider it. However, we cannot repair or replace smashed or damaged screens. Similarly, if a mobile or tablet cannot be turned on we will be unable to use it. However, charger cables and plugs, computer power converters and leads in good condition are very helpful as many devices are donated without them.




My device is working, but it seems to be slow/has some problems. Do you still want it?


Very probably, yes! Many devices can work perfectly reasonably with a fresh install. Please fill in the donation form with as much detail as possible. We will then be in touch about whether we think we can use it and, if so, to arrange collection or delivery to one of our drop off points.




I’ve lost the power charger. Do you still want it?


Yes! Please fill in the device donation form with as much detail as possible. We will decide whether to take it depending on its overall condition and spec, and the ease and cost of replacing the charger. We will then be in touch about whether we think we can use it and, if so, to arrange collection or delivery to one of our drop off points.




I have some redundant charger cables, a mouse and a computer monitor, USB sticks and other bits and pieces. Do you want them?


We can make good use of any bits and pieces that are used with mobiles, tablets and any type of computer, such as:

  • charging cables
  • computer power adapters
  • webcams
  • speakers
  • computer monitors
  • mice (wired or wireless but not the kind that eat cheese, please!)
  • keyboards
  • USB sticks and external hard drives
  • headphones
  • microphones
  • laptop or tablet cases
  • printers
  • assistive technology devices of any kind




Can you collect my donation?


Yes, please fill in the form and let us know that you need us to collect it. Please provide your full postal address and a mobile number so that we can get in touch to arrange this. Please note that we are based in Lambeth so are unable to collect outside of London. Before we come please: Please remove any iPhone, iPad or Apple Mac computer donation from your iCloud account. Remove or make a note of the password on any device you donate. (If you’re not sure what it is, please put down as many guesses as possible!)




Can I drop off my donation?


Completing the form saves us much more time than it takes you, so we really appreciate it when people use it. Whether or not you complete the form, you can drop off device donation(s) at either of the locations below. Please ensure you follow these simple steps: Before you drop off please remove any iPhone, iPad or Apple Mac computer from your iCloud account. It would also be very helpful if you remove any password from any device you donate. Put your donation(s), including any charging cables or other bits, into one of the bags provided. Complete the short paper form provided, including any password that might be on the device. (If you’re not sure, please put down as many guesses as possible!) Please also provide contact details so we can get in touch with any questions if needed, and let you know where your device found a new home. Put the form into the bag with your donation, tie it closed and leave it in the box provided. Drop Off Points Batch & Co coffee shop
54 Streatham Hill SW2 4RD. Mon-Sat 9-13:30; Sun 10-2. (It’s a great excuse to pick up a delicious iced coffee, pastry, sandwich or cake on your way out!) Mobile2Buy mobile & PC repair shop
354 Norwood Rd. Mon-Sat 9-20:00; Sun 9-18:00 (They also sell face masks in bulk as well as mobile phones, accessories and services such as unlocking.)





Data Removal

I don't know how to remove my data, can you do this?


Our volunteer tech experts wipe all data from every device before it is given to someone in need. However, if you wish to delete data and/or factory reset your device before you donate it to us, you can find a number of online guides to do so. For instance, there is this Which? Guide for Windows computers and Chromebooks, this guide for Android phones, this guide from Apple for Macs and this one for iPhones and iPads.




How do you remove data from my device?


We use something called the write-zero method to wipe devices of their data. This means that the whole disk is overwritten with 0s, erasing all data, and making it impossible to retrieve. We supply our technicians with Parted Magic to securely erase disks and check they are in good health. The wipe is verified and checks that 0s have been written successfully to the drive. The devices then have a new operating system installed.





Requests

I need a computer, can you help me?


If you are in need of a device please make a request with a supporting organisation to get in touch. You can see a list of organisations we have worked with here.




We are from an organisation outside of Lambeth, can you help?


Unfortunately we currently only provide support for those who live and/or work in Lambeth. However please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we will do our best to assist.





Sustainability

What happens to donations that cannot be used?


At Community TechAid we pride ourselves on reusing and recycling technology. We make use of every donation that comes through to us, so that it can go on to lead a new life connecting our communities. If we receive devices that can’t be refurbished, we aim to use as much of the device as possible. We remove component parts including memory, keyboard keys and chargers that we can use in other devices, before ensuring all data is removed and it is sustainably and ethically recycled. We also work with ToRecyle who aim to divert 95% of any waste from landfill by recycling computers, laptops and electrical items for their component parts and up cycling back into the community.