Computer venture has dual benefits

By Jessica Elgot, June 23, 2011

Mental health charity Jami has gone into the computer trade as a means of giving employment to its clients and helping the less fortunate.

Jami service users Harvey Miller and Robert Cohen are leading a project to refurbish run-down machines, destroying all personal data in the process. The computers will then be sold on cheaply to those in need.

The hope is that the two will be able to train others to do the job, enabling recovering service users back into flexible work.

Mr Miller, 36, from Golders Green, worked for an investment bank "from seven in the morning until nine at night. I wanted to be more than just an automaton. I had almost a decade's experience in IT and this was a way to give back to other people.

"We'd like to take on interns eventually, giving people who've had mental health difficulties something vocational to do."

Jami employment project manager Angela Cooper said: "We're paying a salary but we can be a bit more flexible with working hours than other employers and so it suits service users. The computers will be available at a large discount to disadvantaged members of the community and we've already had a lot of interest.

"We need to have computers which are still usable when they are donated - you can't restore a computer that's 20 years old."

Last updated: 3:01pm, June 23 2011