A group of Labour Councillors in Crewe has set up a scheme for people to donate unwanted IT equipment to support local children.
The scheme is designed to bridge the “Digital Divide”.
According to data published by Ofcom, the UK telecommunications regulator, 1.8 million children do not have access to a laptop.
The government had pledged to provide 1 million laptops to children across the UK, however, according to figures published by the Department of Education in December 2020 only 500,000 had been distributed.
The group aim to initially take donation of 100 laptops.
The group has also written to the Head of every school in the Crewe and Nantwich area offering their support as pupils begin homeschooling after the latest school closures as a result of the Coronavirus.
As part of that pledge, they have created a Facebook Group, called Lockdown Laptops for Home Learning in Crewe & Nantwich.
The Councillors have previously written to Crewe and Nantwich MP, Dr Kieran Mullan asking him to lobby government to provide more support for local schools.
Councillor Sally Handley who represents Crewe St Barnabas Ward said:
I have spoken to a number of people who work in education, including directly with office staff at one school.
I am so angry at the way teachers and teaching staff are having to make decisions over who can have a place in school or not due to overwhelming demand, because of the rule change over vulnerable children.
There is gross inequality in some parts of Crewe compared to other areas, one school was given just 17 laptops during the full lockdown last year. It’s not fair and it’s not good enough.
Councillor Laura Smith, who represents Crewe South Ward said:
As most people know, I used to be a teacher and I think it is important that we show solidarity to all involved in the profession, offering support where we can.
As Labour Councillors, we have written to the MP asking him to lobby the Education Secretary for an effective rollout of technology for home learning. In the meantime, we have taken the pro-active step of asking the people of Crewe and Nantwich to support our children if they can.
If anybody has any unused or unwanted laptops or tablets, please get in touch with your school through the Facebook page.
You can find more information about the scheme via the groups’ page here.