Computers-for-children appeal gathers strong support

Mike Downes from the Rotary Club of Aylsham is co-ordinating an appeal for laptops and tablets for children.

Mike Downes from the Rotary Club of Aylsham is co-ordinating an appeal for laptops and tablets for children. - Credit: Archant

An urgent appeal for laptops and tablets so more school children can learn at home during the latest lockdown has netted about 30 donations in its first 24 hours. 

Mike Downes, who is co-ordinating the Rotary Club of Aylsham appeal, said he was delighted that so many people had already agreed to give up their unwanted technology.

Mr Downes said: "It has been absolutely amazing. I think when a lot of people get a new laptop they don't know what to do with their old one, so it's wonderful to see."

The laptops and tablets will be distributed initially through schools around Aylsham, and then, if there is enough support, to schools further afield. 

Mr Downes said he became of aware of the need for such an appeal though his role as a governor in the Aylsham Learning Federation group of schools. 


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He said: "I learned that there were 34 families at Bure Valley School alone with no access or very limited access. So there was obviously a need." 

He said the Red Lion Street shop Aylsham Computers had offered to give each of the donated computers new hard drives at cost price and destroy the old ones, to ensure the old data was destroyed and the computers were safe for children to use.

 Ofcom estimates that 9pc of the UK's children lack access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home, and more than 880,000 of them live in a home with only a mobile internet connection. Picture: Getty

Ofcom estimates that 9pc of the UK's children lack access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home, and more than 880,000 of them live in a home with only a mobile internet connection. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Mr Downes added: "Some families have two, three or four children, and getting access to a computer for each of them can be difficult. 

"And even when children can return to school, they are using technology a lot more. So we will be giving these computers to families on a permanent loan basis."

The government's new lockdown guidelines say pupils without a computer may be deemed 'vulnerable' therefore eligible to return to classrooms.

Ofcom estimates that 9pc of the UK's children lack access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home, and more than 880,000 of them live in a home with only a mobile internet connection. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson said last week that 560,000 devices were given out in 2020, and a further 50,000 had been distributed so far this year.

To donate or help in any other way, email mj.bj.downes@live.com, or call 07775567728 or 01263 733325.


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