Donate your unwanted devices this new year

A new campaign is asking businesses to donate unwanted computers to support at-home learning for underprivileged children in Sheffield.

The Laptops for Kids campaign is calling on Sheffield Digital companies to donate unwanted devices to help increase online learning and stop children falling behind with their education. As the pandemic continues to cause classroom closures, children in households without internet access and computers are becoming cut-off from teachers and peers. Launched by WANDisco founder and chief executive David Richards and The Star, the campaign has built a task force of supporting partners including Learn Sheffield, Twinkl, Natterhub and The Sheffield College, with every partner playing an important role in the city-wide effort.

The campaign estimates that 11,000 children in the city are living in households without access to a laptop, tablet or PC. This includes 160 pupils at Athelstan Primary School in Sheffield which is one of the first to benefit from the scheme. Headteacher Deb Halliday said,

“We expected to get 58 laptops from the government scheme but received only 12. To get six from the Laptops for Kids campaign is wonderful.

“The support has come at just the right time. We have delivered laptops and we are seeing the difference as children complete their home learning online.”

One of those children is seven year old Castro Hart who has been self-isolating at home since his bubble burst at school. His mum Vikki says,

“Being able to afford a laptop is not possible, even for many working parents. The first lockdown was hard. Castro was getting paperwork from the school but if he didn’t understand something, there was nobody to ask for help.

“Now he can watch a video on the laptop and see his teacher. He is really enjoying using it. It is more interactive and more fun. My two-year-old is trying to use it as well!”

How you can donate

If you have laptops, tablets, desktops and chargers that you would like to donate, please contact laptopsforkids@wandisco.com with details.

You can securely erase your donated devices, or the campaign team can arrange this for you. Students at the WANdisco Data Academy at The Sheffield City College are securely erasing devices under the guidance of IT experts and using licences and certification donated by data security firm, Blancco.

Once you have made contact via email, you’ll be able to take devices from Monday 4 January to locations in central Sheffield including the Cutlers’ Hall, Twinkl and Learn Sheffield.

Learn Sheffield, a not-for-profit organisation owned by the schools, colleges and Sheffield City Council, is distributing the certified erased devices to schools, according to need.

Natterhub – an online safety and digital literacy tool – is supporting the scheme by helping children to use their new equipment and the internet in a safe and responsible way.

For more information, please visit www.LTFK.co.uk.

Photograph by Brian Eyre shows Athelstan assistant headteacher James Mills with Castro Hart-Richards and Vikki Hart with the laptop.

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