A DRIVE to digitally connect people who are left isolated and alone at home has been rebooted by an anti-poverty group.

Belville Community Gardens is appealing to the public, local businesses and groups to come to their aid by donating old and unwanted computing devices.

They are hoping to refurbish at least 125 laptops and tablets to be sent out to vulnerable residents who are cut off from online access.

The community project first set up the appeal during the peak of the pandemic lockdown, to support those stuck at home on their own plus families without devices to carry on learning at home with their kids while schools were closed.

Now the campaigners are stepping up the fight to bridge the digital divide.

Belville worker Serge Chabert, who is leading the campaign, said: "We are really hoping that local businesses can support our programme.

"It is aimed at helping people keep in touch with their friends and family and get access to support they need.

"It is really important that people are connected online.

"We have already helped many people by refurbishing around 50 devices and we are looking for around 125 more.

"We work with partners like Your Voice and the libraries to make sure they go to people who need them the most."

Serge joined Belville as a volunteer three years ago and was part of the Covid response team based there.

He said: "I came along because I love gardening and I have been here ever since.

"It is a great project."

The devices donated will be refurbished by IT experts and training is delivered by Software Training Scotland and supported by Digital Skills Scotland.

Belville boss Sally Clough said: "We are very proud of the refurbishment programme and it is need more than ever before.

"We want to continue it this year and we would like to make a renewed appeal for support."

Local firms like CalMac have already responded to the appeal by donating devices, along with money advice organisation Financial Fitness.

Serge added: "We would really like to thank CalMac and others who have supported us so far."

*Anyone who can donate a device should call 726034 or email info@belvillecommunitygardens.co.uk