Computers For Special Needs Trust

We promote and support the use of computer technology to assist people with special needs

Computer Loan Scheme

About the Scheme
The Computers for Special Needs Computer Loan Scheme was established in September 2000 to lend computer equipment to people with special needs.  It is funded largely by grants and donations, with the Canterbury Community Trust, COGS and Microsoft being substantial regular supporters.

The definition of “special need” is fairly broad, but generally relates to a recognised physical, intellectual or mental disability

The computers available through the loan scheme are suitable for people undertaking short courses of study, for trial, assessment or training purposes, and for recreational activities.

Computers are available to qualifying persons who reside in the Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough areas.   They are not provided for use in schools or workplaces and are not intended to be used as family computers.

About the Computers
Computers for Special Needs loan computers are of various makes and models, ages and specifications.   Most are desktop systems with LCD monitors.   At this time, the Trust cannot supply laptops.

  • All computers are equipped with DVD-ROM drives, sound cards and speakers.  
  • A dial-up modem will be installed if required
  • Web browsers installed are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
  • All computers have word processing and anti-virus software installed.
  • All computers have a multifunction colour ink jet printer available if required.
  • The operating system will be Windows 7, 8 or 10 depending on the make and model of the computer.

There are various options available for special needs users, such as large monitors ergonomic keyboards, small keyboards, and trackballs instead of mice.

Eligibility Criteria
There is no charge for borrowing a loan computer, but applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1.  Borrowers must have an identified special need.
  2. Computers are available to borrowers ages three years and upwards.
  3. Equipment may be used for recreation or education, but not for business or other commercial activities.
  4. Borrowers must not be eligible for funding for similar equipment from government funding sources or insurance.
  5. Borrowers should generally be unable to fund the equipment themselves, however equipment loans will not be means tested.
  6. Borrowers must reside within the Canterbury, Nelson or Marlborough regions
  7. Applications must be supported by a professional referee, and a qualified support person to assist with day to day computer maintenance must also be identified.

The Application Process
Application forms for individuals can be downloaded here
or for a community residence here.

Applications are considered approximately every six weeks.  Applicants are advised of the outcome in writing or by telephone.  The application review panel’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

Support for Loan Computers
Computers for Special Needs does not provide a training or support service - our role is limited to provision of the computer hardware.  
Borrowers are required to nominate a support person to assist with training and day to day operations of computers.  Persons requiring training may also wish to consider attending the Barrier Free computing sessions which are run by Computers for Special Needs.

In the event of a hardware breakdown the fault should first be confirmed by your support person.  If an item is found to be faulty a replacement will be provided.  Please contact us by email at the address provided on your loan documentation.  Please be aware that we do not operate a call out service and borrowers or their support person may be asked to deliver or collect equipment.

Please note that Computers for Special Needs is unable to reimburse for serving costs of computers.  If you request help from a service agency any costs are at your expense, irrespective of whether there has been a hardware failure.  It is preferred that you (or your support person) contact us so replacement equipment can be provided.

Internet connection, setting up of email accounts and installation of additional software are all expected to be handled by the nominated support person.

Where important personal data is stored on a computer we recommend making a regular backup.  There are various ways this can be done and your support person should be able to advise you.  Computers for Special Needs is unable to retrieve lost data from computers that have failed.

Printers are supplied with an initial quantity of ink or toner.  When this is used, borrowers are expected to pay for their own ink or toner.  We recommend the use of genuine inks and toners as printer warranties will be void using other products.  Paper and other consumables are not provided.

The Computer Loan Scheme is operated by volunteers and response times will be variable depending on the availability of people.