However, this achievement by the charity is not the focus here. This is about the collaboration of groups within the community who have played a significant part in making any donation by Every Child Online possible.
Every Child Online was born at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Mike Tarbard, Managing Director of Southern BME Ltd and Simon Gurner, Managing Director of Sunrise Technologies Ltd, co-founded the charity. They began by partnering with BBC Essex radio supporting the station’s Give a Laptop appeal, which requested pre-used PCs and laptops from the great Essex public. “We refurbished these donated PCs and Laptops and provided them to schools, who then allocated them to children without access to online learning”. Commented Mike Tarbard. “Members of the Basildon Rotary club were quick to offer their support, continues Mike. “The Basildon Rotary club has collected all our public donations since we began. These pillars of the community contribute their own time and pay the fuel costs to collect donations across Essex. They have collected from over 500 addresses across the county in the last two years and continue today; they are a credit to Essex, and I can’t thank them enough”.
While Every Child Online was receiving hundreds of donations from the public, the work put into encouraging businesses from London and Essex to donate their “preloved” laptops and PCs paid off.
Every Child Online has collected thousands of high spec devices averaging three to five years old from companies who share their goals to support schools and close the digital divide.
“It was at this point we had so many devices to refurbish, our warehouse and offices were covered in computers from floor to ceiling. We had to find a solution to speed up our refurbishment process “, comments Simon Gurner, Co-Founder of Every Child Online “.
Luckily for the charity’s founders, the UK government had just introduced a change to the BTEC National Diploma, and it now requires students to fulfil hundreds of hours of work placement time. Mike
contacted colleges in the area offering work placement opportunities for their students. Now, the charity partners with Seevic college in Thundersly, Palmers College in Grays, as well as Basildon’s South Essex College. Students support the charity’s refurbishment of computers and marketing activities while learning valuable work ethics, IT skills in addition to building their confidence in the workplace.
Carly Alavoine, Apprenticeship Work Experience Team Leader at South Essex College, said: “Work experience opportunities are a vital part of our students’ study programmes to ensure they are well equipped and ready for their future careers.
“This opportunity with Every Child Online is particularly exciting as not only are our students gaining valuable industry experience, they are also part of a collaborative project which brings a number of organisations together to benefit the wider local community.”
When the sixty Tough Book laptops were being delivered to Woodlands school, individuals from groups who support Every Child Online’s charitable goals were also invited to the school. Representing Basildon Rotary was Ben Rajan, the charity’s work placement students from South Essex College, the Head and Deputy Head Teachers from the school and from Basildon Council, Councillor Terri Sargent, who has supported the charity by donating hundreds of laptops and PC monitors and will be partnering with the charity on projects to close the digital divide in future. They were joined by Every Child Online founders and a group of students from Woodlands Schools.
Woodlands Head Teacher, Mr David Write, Said: “Keeping our school’s IT equipment up to date is an uphill struggle, it is vital our pupils can learn valuable IT skills using the latest computer software. These donated laptops will ensure our pupils are at the cutting edge of computer science”.
If you or your company have old computers to donate, please consider the various benefits of donating them to Every Child Online. Their professional team will wipe the hard drives of your
donated devices and provide proof certificates. They will be refurbished by volunteers and work placement students and then handed out to schools and other charitable organisations.