This month, the people of Essex have demonstrated that in a crisis, we can support the community’s most vulnerable from the impact of this pandemic. The effects of Covid 19 and issues lockdown and self-isolation create, is no more evident than the implications it has on children without access to online learning at home.
The effect of a “digital divide” between the wealthiest and most disadvantaged pupils in our society will be long-lasting and highly damaging. The Education Endowment Foundation predicts that school closures are likely to reverse progress made to close the gap in the last decade. The median estimate indicates the gap between the disadvantaged and the non-disadvantaged will widen by 36%. A decade’s worth of progress, may fall to the wayside as pupils without regular computer access will fall behind; and with a continued lack of access throughout their time at school, will stay behind.
The good news is, a collaboration between Essex based charity, Every Child Online (ECO), and Basildon Rotary Club, BBC Essex and donations from Essex businesses and the public have seen over four hundred laptops and tablets donated to Essex schools this week alone, with hundreds more to come.
BBC Essex is continuing its Make a Difference, Give a Laptop appeal. Already it has inspired local businesses and individuals across our county to donate their unused laptops and tablets to help support our schoolchildren.
“We have had hundreds of calls and emails from Essex residents who want to donate laptops and tablets”, says Simon Gurner, Founder of Every Child Online and Director of Sunrise Technologies. “The response from the public to BBC Essex’s Make a Difference Give A Laptop Appeal has been phenomenal, and I’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far.” Simon continues. “I would also like to express my gratitude to the members of the Basildon Rotary Club, who continue to drive all over Essex to collect all our donations; their support has been amazing.”
If you want to get involved, BBC Essex and Every Child Online are appealing to all business owners, IT managers, and members of the public, to consider donating their old PCs and laptops. If you’re planning to upgrade your IT equipment, or maybe you have shelves full of unused tech, and you’re not sure what to with them, please consider donating them to www.everychildonline.co.uk.
Any laptop, PC or tablet no older than ten years, using Windows 7 or newer is ideal, and preferably clean and in a working condition. Sunrise Technologies, an IT services business and regional sponsors of Every Child Online carry out a full disk wipe using US DoD 5220.22-M Standard three-pass wipe processes, and provide donors with a confirmation certificate
ECO then upgrade the hardware/software if required and pass your donation on to schools that desperately need them. The school will then loan these computers to kids impacted by the lockdown. Donating your Laptops and PCs will make a considerable difference to a child’s future.
ECO is looking for an ongoing commitment from the UK business sector, to support their strategy that will see, in future, all UK schools provided with refurbished computers donated by corporate firms and SMEs.