It started in his loft. Now Simon Rooksby has two warehouses – and still wonders where the rent will come from
A Hailsham charity which exists entirely upon faith has celebrated its 21st anniversary of serving the world wide community.
Simon Rooksby, founder of Computers for Charities, saw his marriage end in divorce and was forced to leave his home after he left a steady job as a hospital manager six years after starting the charity.
“If you stand up in court and say that God had told you to start a computer charity, it doesn’t go down very well,” he admits. “And as a nurse by training it wasn’t my first choice either! But God told me to get into computers while I was driving an aid lorry in 1992 in Bosnia.”
Simon started collecting computers in his loft, then moved to sheds in his garden. With companies donating equipment, he had to find storage for computers by the thousand, so was relieved when someone lent him two barns for storage. Next he migrated to an old telephone exchange! This was given freely – but had no electricity or vehicle access…
After local TV broadcast a story about him, he was offered the upstairs of a warehouse in Upper Dicker, near Eastbourne. Currently he uses a warehouse on an industrial estate and no-one is salaried: “We have to find £3,500 per month rent and £1,000 per month for diesel. With other expenses – although we don’t pay salaries – we need a total of £6,000 a month. The money always comes in but it’s often at the 11th hour!”
Simon has learned to be “a lot more laid-back” these days: “I can’t do anything about getting the money in and I can’t manipulate it either. God doesn’t need any help – he’s quite capable!”
Computers for Charities has given technology to workers in Romania and schools in Zimbabwe as well as providing computers for those serving sentences in UK prisons. A recent big donor was Greggs the bakers.