Nine-month-old River Ellison is delighted with the laptop presented to mum Lucy Darroch by Spark. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

You know when organisations ask you for feedback about their service? And you struggle to be bothered to respond?

Well, sometimes it pays to make the effort.

A couple of months ago, Lucy Darroch was asked for feedback on the Spark Jump programme that provides free routers to lower-income families without online access.

It is run through the Masterton library, the best-performing outlet in the country – of the 500 routers so far given away nationally, 135 have been provided through the library.

That success made it an obvious choice when the head of the Spark Foundation was looking to give away a surplus laptop to a customer who needed it.

At that point, the library’s digital services manager Paul Greville recalled that Darroch had provided some helpful views about the programme.

Lucy lives with her partner, Ben Ellison, and two children, Summer Darroch, 7, and River Ellison, nine months, in Carterton.

The couple only had cellphones in the house, which made preparing CVs and job-hunting difficult as Lucy planned return to work.

Receiving the laptop has already made a practical difference – helping her get a new part-time job at a rest home.

“I’ve started the job because I could finish the CV,” she said.

“It means I don’t have to go from house to house borrowing computers to do my basic tasks.”

“And Summer is getting to the age when they’re doing a lot of work on computers at school, and they encourage the kids to visit the sites they’re using at home.”

Through the Spark Jump programme, anyone with a person under 18 years old living in the house can receive a free router, and the 30 gigabytes of data – which costs around $10 to top up each month.

If another financial need takes precedence for a month, no problem.

No phoneline is required, just cellphone coverage.

There is no contract, and the router can be moved without difficulty if a family changes address.

Greville said Darroch’s feedback, relating the benefits of internet access and challenge of maintaining it on limited income, had been used in reports and presentations.

“It wasn’t gushy, but it showed exactly how the Spark Jump programme can make a real difference.”

The laptop was the icing on the IT cake.

“This seemed a perfect solution for all involved and allowed us to repay Lucy for her tremendously constructive feedback that has so helped us these past months,” Greville said.

Information on Spark Jump is available at the library or at the website: steppingup.nz