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Laptop donation drive launched to help local students learn during COVID-19 and beyond

Operation Education is a way to make use of your unused laptops.

Ipswich City Council has joined forces with the Ipswich Hospital Foundation (IHF) to launch ‘Operation Education’, a program to supply Year 11 and 12 students with laptops and/or the internet during COVID-19.

While a number of loan laptops are available through schools, some students still do not have access to the right technology to learn from home.  A trip to school to collect print-outs requires families going out unnecessarily and in some cases this could take an hour or more on public transport.

Launching Operation Education, Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle acknowledged access to technology was a challenge for a number of Ipswich families, especially where there are a number of children all trying to participate in home learning.

“The struggle is very real for so many Ipswich students who, through no fault of their own, simply cannot access online learning, which is particularly concerning for years 11 and 12 students working towards completion of high school and/or further education,” Cr Doyle said.

According to community data, Ipswich is estimated to have some 6300 children in the year 11 to 12 age bracket attending secondary school.

“The fact that this year’s group of senior students will be the first in Queensland to receive an Australian Territory Admission Rank (ATAR) instead of an OP Score makes this year particularly challenging,” she said.

“Throw COVID-19 into the mix and many are struggling to keep up with the heavy load.”

Cr Doyle acknowledged that many families within the city already experience greater levels of hardship and disadvantage.

“In 2016, the City of Ipswich’s ranking on a national index of social and economic disadvantage (which accounts for things like income, unemployment, job types, education and skill levels) was well below the national average,” Cr Doyle said.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and support our young people. It’s very encouraging to see so many community groups working together for the greater good.”

Cr Doyle (pictured above) said Operation Education encouraged the community to:

  • Donate unused laptops (preferably wifi enabled / can take a sim card) which will be cleaned and refurbished;
  • Donate pre-paid sim cards; and
  • Volunteer time to help refurbish and distribute devices.

“Many of us have unused laptops at home or at work. With a bit of TLC these cleaned and refurbished laptops really could changes the lives of so many young people,” she said.

“Recycling and reuse of electronic devices in this instance is also good for the environment in Ipswich and good for the planet.”

Council will provide a venue that will be transformed into a makeshift workshop, skilled IT staff to assist IHF’s generous volunteers to clean and refurbish the devices, and a contact-free laptop donation pick-up service.

Council has been engaging with the Department of Education and schools and that considerations of privacy, security and safety are being addressed by council’s ICT team.

A partner in the initiative, Ipswich Hospital Foundation will manage the donation and clean-up process and oversee the volunteers.

The Rotary Club of Ipswich City will run the review process and manage the provision of the laptops.

Ipswich Hospital Foundation CEO James Sturges was more than happy to partner with council to assist the community. He said Operation Education will make a long-term difference in the education, health and wellbeing of many local families.

“We are keen to get these resources out and into the community ASAP. This isn’t just about supporting our young people through COVID-19, it’s really about providing opportunities for their future education,” Mr Sturges said.

“One single donation will increase opportunities for learning, connection and wellbeing for the whole family and will also give more people in our community access to IHF’s virtual programs.”

Along with the donated laptops and sim cards, IHF will also give each family a Healthy Resource Kit. This kit will highlight the many online resources available to positively contribute to their family’s mental health and physical wellbeing, such as IHF’s Virtual Kids Kitchen and Fit4Life Fitness programs.

To register your interesting in donating or volunteering, please visit and look for the ‘Operation Education’ button.

Ipswich City Council has launched a new way for the community to be involved in responding to and recovering from COVID-19.

The Ipswich Together program calls on residents, ratepayers, community groups and businesses to support each other under a theme of ‘because together we can do so much’.

Ipswich Together information is available at

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