What is the purpose of the Equipment Loan bank?
The BRITE Initiative's Equipment Loan bank (EqLB) was created to provide:
- Access to equipment which may enable a student with additional support needs to successfully participate in learning
- Support for staff when assessing a student's needs and implementing the equipment
- Security in the knowledge that equipment is suitable for the student and will be used
- Embedded technology skills in institutions by enabling staff to gain experience
- Time to thoroughly evaluate the usefulness of equipment in context
Equipment is provided for evaluation purposes. It does not replace the need for institutions to purchase equipment for ongoing use. If an item proves to be effective, BRITE will provide information about suppliers and costs. This "try before you buy" facility gives members confidence that money is being well-spent - funds are unlikely to be wasted on equipment which lies unused until it becomes obsolete.
Types of membership available
We now offer two different types of membership: contract, or pay as you go. Note that a different fee structure and borrowing entitlement applies to colleges that are the product of a merger. To join the loan bank, or enquire about the type of membership that is best suited to you contact the EQLB administrator or use the online EqLB enquiry form. The information contained on this page also serves as the terms and conditions of loan bank membership.
This membership option involves paying a fixed sum in advance for unlimited loans throughout the year (although only a certain amount of active loans are permitted at any one time). This option is best for institutions that anticipate a need for assistive technology on loan. Paying a fixed sum in advance may also be preferable to some institutions in terms of simplifying administration.
Stand-alone college: £495
Merged college: £750
Membership is offered on an annual basis, coinciding with the Scottish Funding Council academic year i.e. 1st August to 31st July. The minimum membership period is one academic year. Institutions have the flexibility to join at any time. Institutions may purchase more than one contract in order to borrow more items.
Pay as you go
This membership option offers maximum flexibility and is ideal if you are unsure whether you will need to borrow equipment, or if you only require equipment later in the academic year. No upfront fees apply, members pay on an item to item basis. The amount payable is 20% of items value (RRP at BRITE point of purchase) or £50 minimum if item is £250 or below in value.
Benefits available to all members
Whichever membership option you select, you will receive the same high quality service that will enable you to support your learners effectively. Services include:
- Help with identifying appropriate equipment for a student to try
- Entitlement to borrow equipment for up to 12 weeks
- Ability to borrow 3 to 5 items concurrently (3 for stand-alone members, 5 for merged)
- Equipment promptly dispatched direct to the institution via courier or Special Delivery
- Support via phone, email, or online video conferencing
By joining the BRITE Equipment Loan Bank, institutions and named contacts agree to:
- Return borrowed items to BRITE by the agreed date
- Pay courier/postage costs to return the item (BRITE covers the cost to post it out to you)
- In the event of damage, loss or theft, the member institution should either purchase a replacement, or pay BRITE the cost of a new item. Items are not insured by BRITE once they leave us. Institutions may add borrowed items to their own insurance policy if they wish.
What can be borrowed?
The Loanbank contains assistive technology and other devices that may help a student with an additional need to participate in his or her course.
The range of assistive technology available is broad and may be as simple as an alternative keyboard or mouse, or items such as digital recorders or portable magnifiers. High tech devices such as listening aids for Cochlear Implant users, Braille note-taking devices and some examples of voice output communication aids are also available.
Unsure whether we lend an item you have in mind? Just ask!
We keep a number of varied types of technology and aids to learning in stock. A list of currently available equipment in the loanbank is available to members. A member username and password is required to access this list.
It is important that students access technology that is appropriate for their specific needs; therefore members should not feel they are restricted to equipment currently in stock. We welcome requests for new equipment, but if you are unsure what you need, our Assistive Technologists can help you identify possible devices.
Can an item be borrowed for more than 12 weeks?
If an item is valued at more than £1350, an extension may be requested. If the item has not been reserved by another member, it may be possible for the item to be retained for a further agreed period, or until another borrower requests the item.
For single items valued at more than £2700, or where a high degree of customisation to suit an individual student is necessary, BRITE is willing to consider a longer-term loan (up to a full academic year).
Are there any items BRITE is unable to lend?
We consider every request for new equipment carefully. On rare occasions we have been unable to provide the equipment initially requested and instead provided advice. Below are some examples of requested items we do not lend, and why:
- Software A selected number of software titles are available on USB. We also lend software when it is required to drive or effectively use a device e.g. Braille translation software is issued with a Braille embosser. However, software licensing makes lending disks and licence codes very complicated. The good news is that most software developers provide free demonstration copies of software which may be used for evaluation. BRITE's assistive technologists can direct you to relevant software.
- Hoists Such devices must be properly installed and operated by trained people. They are also too large to easily post out. A small number of colleges do have hoists installed. These should only be used by trained individuals and an Occupational Therapist should conduct an assessment prior to use with a student. Contact an institution directly to ask whether there is a hoist and what the conditions of use are.
- Fire alert systems (e.g. vibrating pagers for Deaf visitors) Fire alert systems need to be properly installed and integrated into a building's existing fire alarm system. Advice on fire alert systems for deaf students, staff and visitors can be found in the Furthering Access to Education for Deaf Students guide.
(The list above is for example only and is not exhaustive.)
Who can join?
Membership is open to all Scottish Further and Higher Education Institutions. It is an institutional membership, therefore payment of membership fees grants membership to the college or university.
Loans are administered via a named contact(s) in the member institution. Typically, the named contact is someone who has completed a BRITE qualification. The named contact should have experience in assessment of needs and effective implementation of assistive technology. Qualified individuals are known as BRITE Links.
On our Contact page, you can find out who the BRITE Links are in your institution. Where an institution has more than one BRITE Link, all Links should be in agreement and have good communication with one another when applying for a membership.
If your institution does not currently employ a BRITE Link, a suitably experienced member of staff may be nominated as the named contact, e.g. an assistive technologist.
Don't work in further or higher education? Other types of education providers and NHS Trusts interested in our services should contact us. At the moment, the EqLB does not operate beyond Scotland.
The EqLB resources section of our website contains tips on choosing and using assistive technology, and provides information on how to enquire or join the EqLB. View the EqLB resources page.
Many students and colleges have benefited from using the Equipment Loanbank, to find out more please view our case studies page.
"Cardonald College Glasgow subscribes annually to the BRITE Loanbank and our students have benefited from this on numerous occasions. A particularly useful aspect of this facility is that we can borrow equipment for individuals to trial before they purchase specific items in relation to their DSA application. This supports the decision making process for students which they can then make with confidence and in addition provides college staff with hands-on experience and knowledge of previously untried items."