Blackburn’s The Making Rooms has been awarded more than £50,000 to tackle e-waste and help people get online 
The community space has received the grant from the 'Time After Time' fund, created by Virgin Media O2 and charity, Hubbub, to boost projects that give unwanted tech a second life and support digital inclusion.  
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, non-profit Material Focus, digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation, plus Hubbub and Virgin Media O2. 

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.  
Director of The Making Rooms, Thomas Macpherson-Pope 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."

Lancashire Telegraph:
Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub said: "There is an abundance of smart devices in households and businesses that have a potential to help the estimated 1.5 million households that are digitally disconnected get online. 

"These projects will tackle digital exclusion through research, training and the redistribution of devices and continue to raise awareness about the issues of e-waste and digital inclusion.

"We are thrilled to award this funding and look forward to seeing what these projects achieve.” 
Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, Dana Haidan said: “Well done to Blackburn’s The Making Rooms for their innovative and inspiring Repair Space project that will provide rehomed devices and digital skills to help young people get online, along with tech repair training sessions to help them get into work. 

"With this funding from Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund, the Making Rooms will continue to have a positive impact on young people across Blackburn, and cut e-waste to help protect the planet.”  
TV presenter and environmentalist George Clarke who helped judge the entries said: “I was blown away by the incredible entries to the Time After Time fund, which made the judging process extremely difficult, yet so worthwhile. 

"The winning projects will put old tech to good use so it can be used again and again and help people in need to access the online world. Huge congratulations to the winners!”