UPcycling with Ted

Ted Baker have a longstanding commitment to Camden, they’ve been around to see it changing over the years, and they’ve been active in helping bring about some of those positive changes. Driven by Ted Baker’s historian, Peter McDonough, our Next Generation Coordinator, they’re passionate about finding and developing talent, with their next challenge being the pioneers in creating an IT equipment recycling and training social enterprise.

Ted was recently approached by Copenhagen Youth Project as they were experiencing some IT issues. They needed 10 new PCs, a better Mac for their music studio to enable the children to compose their own music using GarageBand. In addition to this, they required the installation of two new networks to separate their admin office from their public network; high speed internet and an upgraded communications server to manage it all.

Loving a challenge, Ted took it on with gusto and innovation. Using equipment that was due to be scrapped, they helped supply what was on Copenhagen Youth Project’s IT wish list. They recabled the office, and quickly became aware that CYP were not the only charity in the area facing these issues.

C4WS also did not have enough working PCs to provide internet and job support access to homeless people trying to apply for jobs and find essential support services. Again, Ted came to the rescue, sourcing and providing 10 PCs by utilising equipment that would otherwise have been scrapped. Recognising that this was a bigger issue that needed tackling, Peter asked for help from N1C Youth Club, and they are now in the process of supporting their coding club, teaching coding to young people who have never programmed computers before.

Through voluntary work and recycling IT equipment, Ted have benefitted numerous charities in the area. It typically costs organisations substantial sums to scrap IT equipment due to the metals and plastics. Even where organisations pay to have IT equipment scrapped there is evidence of substantial leakage from the recycling supply chain with the outcome that hundreds of millions of tonnes of equipment gets sent to Africa, where it is often picked apart by hand to extract trace amounts of gold, silver and other metals. This extraction is typically done by melting down circuit boards over open fires which, in the process, creates hazardous pollution. More information can be found on this here.

Ted said that, ‘If all this can be achieved by a small IT team at Ted recycling their old IT equipment, just think what could be achieved if we were able to recycle the thousands of PCs and laptops that the businesses in the Urban Partnership have. We should have the ambition to provide a laptop to every child in Camden. This laptop could be prebuilt with a huge set of learning tools (electricians courses, plumbing courses, coding courses, English language courses and much more.’