History – empowering people through technology
Comm-Tech has been carrying out its charitable work in south London since 1996. From the outset, Comm-Tech’s main goal was to empower people through technology in order to alleviate inequality. This was underpinned by a belief that individuals should have technological choice, be able to gain IT skills no matter what their income or background and that progress should be balanced by actively minimising environmental damage.
Initially, Comm-Tech’s core business involved repairing and refurbishing discarded IT equipment and redistributing it to individuals and groups in need. Our bedroom office in Brixton was soon filled to the brim so we hired an office at the Shakespeare Business Centre in Coldharbour Lane. We expanded into providing various IT training courses for students via the Independent Learning Account as well as offering NICAS training and certification.
Roots in the community
As the organisation expanded, we incorporated apprenticeship training into our operations, providing computer skills to the unemployed. Comm-Tech was granted charity status in 2002, and with funding from the government’s Raising Our Sights scheme Comm-Tech’s unique community of staff, volunteers and trainees founded an environment where individuals could learn creative and practical IT skills in a mutually respectful environment. A broad cross-section of the community gained skills and OCR accreditation in graphic design, web design, video editing, music production, and computer hardware and software engineering, and used their skills to participate in film and music projects in the local community.
From working with community organisations we that many felt over-charged and under-informed in regards to their in-house IT infrastructure. There was a clear need for straightforward, expert advice, and low-cost equipment, services and support to help charities and not-for-profits provide the best services to the communities they serve. Through its IT-Aid project, Comm-Tech developed IT support systems to cater for this need.
Comm-Tech invested in open source and software, offering training in open source products and hosting Le Brixton Linux Action Group which, under the guidance of Jeff Moe, developed Brixton’s own Linux distribution. The BLAG group still meet to this day.
Recycling, re-use and support
Since 2005, Comm-Tech has focused its operations on computer recycling and IT support for charitable enterprises, and has operated sustainably without recourse to funding. For the last ten years our hardware recycling operation has diverted hundreds of tonnes of IT waste from landfill, with regular recycling arrangements in place with the London Borough of Lambeth and many other businesses, from Brixton to the City of London. Our IT support portfolio has been developed further, and our support clients have benefited from regular rolling upgrades and low-cost hardware salvaged through computer recycling.
While Comm-Tech was among the first wave of organisations to champion the need for effective recycling and reuse of waste electronics, the number of organisations now working in the field and the scale of operations required to ensure sustainability led us to close our in-house recycling operation in 2016, with Comm-Tech’s recycling needs subcontracted to a local sister organisation.
Excellence in IT services
Today, Comm-Tech is highly focused on IT support, providing cloud services hosting and specialist IT consultancy. Our reputation built over 20 years is one of friendliness, competence and sustainability. Why not get in touch, and see how we can help you.