British Airways Joins Initiative to Open up the Online World for Older People

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British Airways has joined forces with Age Concern in London UK and Slough and a multi-award-winning computer recycling company Maxitech.biz in a new initiative that aims to open up the online world to London and Slough's older citizens.

British Airways has pledged to donate computers it no longer needs as a result of upgrading, which will be safely wiped and refurbished by Maxitech.biz, and then donated to Age Concern Slough to support older people.

The computers will not only be used to benefit older people who access the Advocacy Service run by Age Concern Slough, but will also allow older people to gain access to the Internet and training at Age Concern Slough's drop-in centre in the town centre.

Paul Coby, British Airways Chief Information Officer, said: "British Airways has a long-standing commitment to be a good neighbour to the communities it serves. As our home base, Heathrow Airport and the surrounding boroughs are very important to us. We are therefore delighted to work with Maxitech to support Age Concerns through the provision of computers to their centres in West London and Slough."

Age Concern Slough Chief Executive, Tracey Morgan, said: "These computers will give the older people who use them the opportunity to communicate with friends and relatives, develop new interests, and will enable them to have access to health and advice. This will make such a difference to the lives of many older people who find it hard to cope due to illness, disability or mobility problems, and find everyday tasks such as shopping and banking and even socialising difficult. Helping them to improve their computer skills and giving them free access to the Internet will give older people, who would otherwise be excluded, the same opportunity to make use of the benefits that communicating via the Internet provides for millions of people everyday."

Maxitech Managing Director Peter Paduh, voted Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the London Chamber of Commerce and ITV at the London Business Awards 2005, said: "Society is becoming ever-more dependent on computerised technologies, but that creates the problem of outdated equipment. An estimated two million working Pentium or equivalent PCs are dumped in landfill sites in the UK every year, creating a massive environmental hazard. Our priority is to prevent old computers from becoming an environmental liability, and instead turn them into a valuable resource for charities and community groups. We're delighted to be working with British Airways and Age Concern Slough on this exciting project which I'm sure will engage the enthusiasm of people responsible for IT in companies and organisations across the region."

Frank Fruzza, from British Airways Information Management team, added: "Working with Maxitech is a win-win scenario, as not only does it benefit the end-users of the refurbished computers, it allows the airline to recycle the equipment in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly manner. We are working closely with our information management team to ensure the appropriate distribution of computers."

Caption:

Left to right: Paul Coby and Frank Fruzza of BA, with Peter Paduh of Maxitech.biz and Tracey Morgan of Age Concern Slough

Notes to editors:

1. Maxitech.biz is a multi-award-winning, socially and environmentally focused company dedicated to reusing and recycling redundant IT and electronic equipment. Based in London, the company can arrange for the nationwide collection of IT and electronic equipment at low cost. Maxitech's preference is to reuse equipment received, thus prolonging its lifespan, minimising waste and benefiting charities and community groups who receive low-cost or free IT equipment. Maxitech provides more than 100 training opportunities each year for refugees and long-term unemployed people through its Edge Employer Award winning programme, to help them get into full-time employment. For further information visit http://www.maxitech.biz

2. More information on the Computers and Older People project, launched by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in June 2006, is available at: http://www.maxitech.biz/computersforolderpeople. Ken Livingstone said at the launch: "Access to a computer - and in particular the Internet - is an increasingly valuable part of every day life, and without it many people will find themselves deprived of many opportunities that others take for granted. This is an important project, which I strongly support."

3. British Airways is one of the world's biggest international airlines, carrying more than 35 million passengers each year. British Airways serves over 161 routes to142 destinations worldwide. The company is committed to improving its social performance. This involves ensuring that it safeguards and seeks to enhance the welfare of the people it employs, customers it serves and communities in which it operates.

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PETER PADUH

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