OLD computers have been given a new lease of life helping history detectives, silver surfers, primary school pupils and vulnerable youngsters

Some 250 PCs, laptops, tablets and printers have been saved from landfill and put to use by charities and community groups in a new project in the Highlands.

The recycling project is a spin-off from technology firm Fujitsu's programme to replace and upgrade The Highland Council's office and schools IT systems and help reduce its energy use and carbon emissions.

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Fujitsu is investing more than £300,000 to have up to 3500 pieces of equipment processed by specialist Forres-based social enterprise ReBoot and distributed to deserving causes.

A gift of 10 recycled office laptops went to Helmsdale on Sutherland's east coast to meet growing demand for IT training by providing practical hands-on classes across a wide age range, including video-link lunch clubs for elderly people. Community association company secretary Valerie George said: "Demand has been great – from young mums to a lady in her 80s – but we have cut through the waiting list for beginner and intermediate classes, and are running a project to database Christmas card envelope labels.

"We are even planning a project to link up our lunch club at the community centre with others through video conferencing."

Brodie Shepherd, Fujitsu's Scotland country director, said: "This is a great new and productive use for this equipment in the Highlands, where we see community wellbeing as a vital part of our involvement here as we look to help grow business in the information technology sector."

Councillor Dave Fallows, chairman of the local authority's finance, housing and resources committee, added: "Recycling our redundant IT equipment in this way makes economic and environmental sense and provides significant benefits to community groups."