A local grassroots campaign is fundraising to provide tablets to children to enable them to continue online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ryan Rawlinson, site manager for local SME and housebuilder Helix, has launched an online campaign and raised more than £5,600 to support families across Andover with home-schooling.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the scale of digital poverty across the country, with communications regulator Ofcom estimating up to 1.78m children in the UK have no access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home.
To raise awareness of this issue and provide support, Rawlinson set up Tablets for Children on Facebook and within the first 20 days had raised enough money to purchase 100 new tablets for local children.
Rawlinson said: “When the government first announced the third national lockdown, I didn’t have everything I needed to set my two children up for home-schooling.
“Whilst I was able to get hold of two tablets, I saw a number of families post on social media about how it was not an affordable option for them, which meant many children would be left behind and not able to complete their studies.”
Rawlinson’s employer, Helix, has also donated £500 to support the campaign as part of its ongoing initiative to invest into the local communities that they serve.
Rawlinson has worked with suppliers to secure as many tablets as possible. KP Safety Solutions has also donated learning devices to Tablets for Children, and manufacturer Lenovo has substantially discounted the tablets brought through the campaign – charging just £56 for each device.
Rawlinson continued: “I’m blown away by the sheer generosity of everyone that has got involved. In a pandemic, where people are not in the most ideal of situations, it’s incredibly heart-warming to know that people will still go out of their way to help those less fortunate than themselves.”
Tablets for Children has been gifting the tablets to local schools to ensure they get to those who need them most.
So far, they have been to Andover Church of England Primary School, Balksbury Junior School, Endeavour Primary School, Portway Junior School and Vigo Primary School, Roman Way Primary, Knights Enham Junior, and Anton County Junior School.
Yasamin Aldoori, federated deputy headteacher from Balksbury Federation, said: “Receiving the tablets donated by Tablets for Children has had a huge impact on our federated community.
“It has allowed families to connect to their home learning, after a short lockdown notice.
“We can’t thank them enough for what they have done for our families. The response has been overwhelming and has shown us the kindness the community around us has.”
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