Computer Friendly helps Shirley complete a book of life stories

Computer Friendly helped Shirley to use Storyworth to write a book of life stories.  She was then able finish her book and so happy to see it in print that she sent us this wonderful “Thank You.”
Over a year ago my granddaughter gifted a year’s Storyworth subscription to me to write a book of life stories.   I immediately found difficulties inserting and sizing photos and generally kept meeting obstacles but I was so lucky to meet David Forbes, a  volunteer, at the Computer Friendly DropIn at The Hub in the Civic Centre.  He guided me through my book which I signed off recently and am extremely excited to see it in print.  
The people of St Albans and surrounding area are so lucky to have the benefit of expert tuition from a team of volunteers, each one skilled in every aspect of computer technology plus their patience and friendliness is beyond compare.
I am in my ninetieth year and have many more stories to tell.  If I decide to write volume two , the lead chapter will be praising my recent learning experience with David and the tuition I have had previously from other members of the team.
                              Thanks, a Billion Computer Friendly
The DropIn is held at the HUB on the First Wednesday of every month.

Mayor of St Albans visits Dropin at Marshalswick

David in explanation mode…..

We were pleased to welcome the Mayor of St Albans Cllr Anthony Rowlands accompanied by his Lady Mayoress Annie Stevenson to our regular Thursday DropIn at Marshalswick Baptist Free Church – not just to visit but to get help and advice!


‘I was delighted to visit one of Computer Friendly drop-in sessions along with the Mayoress, Annie Stevenson.  As someone who would regularly score a low  B- in any IT test, I know all too well how frustration can set in when digital confusion strikes.

Three cheers, then, for Computer Friendly who provide essential support to those of us who have not learned some of the basic competencies through the world of work or are regularly  baffled. They are a lifeline for so many in a world where living without basic IT skills is becoming harder.’


Computer Friendly provides a vital service to prevent the social exclusion of older people who have lived through the digital revolution later in life, having been forced to adjust to a computerised world that was unknown in their formative years. Sadly, through the lens of age discrimination, older people’s worlds can become smaller and it is vital they are empowered and stay connected to their communities plus having all the benefits of being comfortable with technology that younger people enjoy. Even more important with the cost of living crisis. 

 It is not just a social issue, it’s a fundamental health issue as increasingly it is impossible to access essential services without going online. The digital divide  increases loneliness and isolation, the scourge of our society that the Mayor’s theme is highlighting. Computer Friendly is an essential service for older people to prevent decline in their physical and mental health and quality of life. We are so fortunate to have them in our district. 

Do you get a buzz out of helping people?

Can you use an Apple iPad or Android tablet?

Why not give a bit of your time helping our students, mainly older people, to get online with their new tablets, either Android or Apple? We will help you get started to keep our ‘Starting Off With’ courses running in St Albans and Harpenden. The feedback we get from our students is great to read!

Click on Getting Involved and complete our Volunteer Enquiry form, or call our Courses helpline and they will put you in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator to discuss what is involved.

Ring 01727 617359 or email for more information!

Donate an Old Laptop

Tony Bourke delivering laptops to Boxmoor Primary School, Hemel Hempstead.

Nobody likes to throw away a laptop just because it’s old. That’s why many of us have one in the cupboard.

We take donated laptops to fix, upgrade and refurbish as best we can into Windows 10 laptops and CloudReady ChromeOS devices.

Schools then tell us what they need to keep their pupils online when they are isolating or working from home.

So what’s the secret? Well, a team of dedicated unpaid enthusiast volunteers, some new high speed memory drives (SSDs) and a lot of tinkering! We can even reuse many components from broken laptops: keyboards, screens, batteries, memory and power supplies are often interchangeable to prolong the life of another laptop. “Two become one”, as they say in the song.

How you can help us…

Go on! Bring us your old laptops and we’ll give them a new lease of life in the hands of the younger members of our society. (A few of the laptops are older than their users!)

As well as laptops, we can also reuse tablets and smartphones for schools and other supporting organisations as listed below.

Click <<here>> for our wish list of what we would like to receive.

To recycle your item, simply send an email to or phone us on 01727 617359.

Oh, if you are worried about any data left on your hard disk storage in your laptop, click <<here>> to see the shredder we used to destroy and recycle the old hard disks. All devices are wiped / factory reset.

The stats…

To date, we have delivered 405 devices made up of: 305 Laptops, 71 Tablets (58 iPads & 13 Android), 14 Desktops, 5 iMacs, 1 All-in-one PC screen, 1 Printer, 7 Smartphones.

These were delivered to 28 schools as well as Herts Police Domestic Violence team, Herts Leavers from Care, Luton Probation Service, Emmaus St Albans, Modern Victims of Slavery, The Vineyard, HAWA St Albans, Young People’s Support Team, Beds CC, Catholic Worker Farm, Watford.

That’s at least 833kg of equipment (nearly a tonne) that hasn’t ended up at the dump.

We estimate that between us we have saved 87,000kg of CO2 (yes, 87 tonnes!) from being created, that’s equivalent to 89 Return transatlantic flights (based on new laptop CO2 estimated by The Restart Project data).

Who have you helped so far?

Here are the names of some of those that benefited from your donations:

St Albans & Harpenden

Cunningham Hill Junior School Mandeville Primary St George’s
HAWA St Albans Manland School St Helen’s Primary
Herts Police Domestic Violence Margaret Wix Primary The Grove School
Katherine Warington School Redbourn Primary The King’s School
Killigrew Primary St Dominic Catholic Primary Beds Young People’s Support Team
London Colney Primary Sauncey Wood Wood End
St Helens CE Primary The Maple School Camp School
St Albans City Crabtree Junior Victims of Slavery Support
Aboyne Lodge Primary Luton Probation Service Emmaus St Albans
The Vineyard Church

Hatfield/Welwyn Garden City

Birchwood Avenue Primary St Michaels Woolmer Green Stanborough School
Green Lanes Primary St Johns Primary Tenterfield Nursery
Onslow St Audrey

Hemel Hempstead

Brockswood Primary and Nursery Leverstock Green Primary Chailden Infants School
Boxmoor Infants Catholic Worker Farm, Watford

Last year Herts Advertiser published a complimentary article about what we were doing. Click here to read the article, and what Cathy Longhurst, headteacher at Mandeville School, said about how we help their students.

Once again, to recycle your item, simply email or phone us on 01727 617359.

Heroes of Hertfordshire

Heroes of Hertfordshire

In addition to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service we are delighted to have received a “Heroes of Hertfordshire” certificate from Robert Voss, Lord-Lieutenant, as thanks for the support we have given the people of Hertfordshire in recent times.