A Stourbridge IT company owner is urging local businesses in the West Midlands to donate old laptops for children with no access to online learning.
James Cash, owner of Superfast IT in Norton, is backing a national campaign to bridge the digital divide – providing disadvantaged children with laptops during the national lockdown.
The campaign is supporting schools and families in the Black Country and Birmingham – without which James fears thousands of children would be left behind - having a detrimental effect on both their education and mental health.
He said: “It is important that kids stop missing out on education. I am backing this campaign to raise awareness of the wide-spread issue and encourage local businesses to donate their old laptops. We are also matching anyone that buys a brand-new laptop.
“There will be businesses with unused laptops collecting dust – I urge them to get in touch. We can properly wipe the laptop and install appropriate software before distributing to schools and families in the local area.
“I have been overwhelmed by the positive response and support for the campaign. Our entire team feels a real sense of pride and joy to be making a difference. This is shared by the people and businesses that have generously donated, who all feel passionately about the campaign.
“Many of us are parents or grandparents and can’t imagine the impossible task to learn without a laptop – also depriving the children with the opportunity to learn digital skills, hindering their future job prospects.”
Two local businesses – Player PA and The Boro’ Foundry - have bought brand-new laptops in response to the campaign, which Superfast IT has matched. A total of 12 brand-new laptops have been donated so far. A further seven local businesses have donated 18 second-hand laptops and tablets including Propbrook, Signs Now, Informed Training, Big Button, BCRS and Alloy Heat Treatment.
James delivered laptops to Mrs Helen Robinson, Head Teacher at Mount Pleasant Primary School, Quarry Bank, this week. She said: “It is absolutely amazing, we can't thank Superfast IT enough. These five extra devices will make such a difference to our families, many of whom have two or more children. Sharing a device to complete remote learning can be extremely challenging.”
Reports suggest that millions of children in the UK are missing out on full time education – coupled with well-being concerns – with no access to online mental health support or the chance to connect with peers.
Superfast IT will be delivering more laptops to schools all around the borough over the next week. Seven brand-new laptops have also been delivered to Newfield Park Primary School, Halesowen, and Superfast IT are looking for more schools to donate laptops.
What if I want to donate a device?
We are winding down our activity for this campaign. We would like to whole heartedly thank everyone that donated secondhand devices. Here is how you have helped to make a huge difference.
Bridging the digital divide does not stop here. Contact The Restart Project to donate your secondhand laptops: