Bondgate IT is appealing to North East businesses to donate refurbished laptops to Tees Valley schools and support those lockdown students struggling to access online home learning.
Garry Brown, managing director of the Darlington firm, is a trustee of the Ad Astra Academy Trust and is acutely aware of the importance of a quality education in unlocking vital skills and shaping successful futures.
However, according to analysis by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, based on data from Ofcom and the ONS, there are 55,000 families in the region without access to an internet device.
Bondgate IT is providing some of its own laptops that are surplus to requirements and these will be refurbished before being donated to primary school pupils. In addition, Bondgate IT’s employees have volunteered their own time to refurbish laptops that have been collected from schools and businesses in the region, getting them to a standard whereby they can be distributed to students to support home learning.
The company is also reaching out to its own client base to see if they can contribute to narrowing the digital divide and is also appealing to other businesses and tech firms in the North East to donate suitable devices and ensure pupils don’t suffer any further disruption to their learning.
Garry, who himself attended West Park Primary School, Hartlepool, which is part of the Tees Valley-based Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “It’s not just young people from disadvantaged backgrounds that are unable to access digital technology.
“There are examples of households with two laptops that still can’t meet the needs of the family, especially if parents are working from home too – which means computer time can be severely rationed.
“I’m passionate about education, and whilst online home learning isn’t ideal, the lack of access to a laptop will have an impact on young people learning.
“Many businesses will have computers or laptops that have been replaced or are no longer required. I appeal to them to consider erasing the data and donating them to help address these inequalities.”
Businesses wishing to donate data erased devices can visit https://www.business2schools.com/donate or www.donatedigital.co.uk to pledge suitable technology. Alternatively contact Bondgate IT directly on 01325 369950.