More than 100 people have already signed up to donate close to 200 devices to kids struggling to access home education.
Just 24 hours after we launched our Laptops for Kids scheme, 126 generous individuals and businesses had already promised to give unused laptops and tablets to help North East children learn during lockdown.
The latest nationwide lockdown means all but a few children have been sent home from school, with lessons delivered and work set online.
But with research by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership suggesting at least 55,000 families in the North East lacki access to a laptop, tablet or desktop computer, thousands of our most vulnerable children could be falling behind.
In partnership with Northumbrian Water, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Sunderland-based IT firms Rebuyer and Code, ChronicleLive launched the campaign in the hope of making sure no child misses out.
Already, the North East has responded with the generous spirit we’re known for, with https://donatedigital.co.uk/ inundated with offers of equipment.
Simon Howatson, chief executive of Code and Rebuyer, said: “The response from people across the North East has been overwhelming.
“To have nearly 200 devices pledged in 24 hours has exceeded our expectations and will make a real difference for kids across the region.
“We will data wipe machines to the strictest government guidance, upgrade the equipment and use our channels to distribute the equipment to children that require it most.
“No child should fall behind in their learning because they can’t access online learning, and we want to help as many families as possible to bridge the digital divide.”
But there’s still a long way to go before all our region’s children have the vital learning resources they need.
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The scale of the digital divide in the North East is huge, with at least 55,000 families still in need of a laptop or tablet for their child is to access remote learning.
“The problem is compounded by the high levels of long-term disadvantage in the region, as well as the widespread disruption to schools last term, with high Covid rates forcing many pupils to self-isolate at home for weeks at a time.”
Anyone wanting to support the campaign should visit www.donatedigital.co.uk where businesses and individuals can offer spare items.
Headteachers can also sign up on the site for assistance for pupils left without access to technology.