The Making Rooms in Blackburn has been awarded a £55,000 grant to tackle electronic waste and help communities in need get online.

The creative technology community space received the money from the 500,000 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."

Cllr 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.

"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."