Just over £24,000 has been awarded to seven groups across Northamptonshire from the first wave of the Tech4Kids initiative.
Launched earlier this month, the appeal comes through a partnership between the leading grant-making charity in the county Northamptonshire Community Foundation and Dallington-based telecommunications company Guru Technology.
Tech4Kids aims to reduce digital exclusion in children and families during lockdown, helping them to access online learning while schools are closed, with the sourcing of the equipment being handled by Guru and local IT solutions company ACS managing the set-up of the technology.
Mary Hollands, head of philanthropy at Northamptonshire Community Foundation, said: “The Tech4Kids campaign is a much-needed initiative to ensure that all children are able to access their schooling. Listening to stories of four children sharing one laptop, or of students missing classes as they live in remote areas with limited Wi-Fi is heart breaking, but together we can make a huge difference to the lives of these young people.”
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The foundation has donated £20,000 to the appeal, adding to Guru’s £25,000 pledge of free technology to help disadvantaged families with little or no access to laptops, iPads and the internet.
Arran Kirton, director of Guru Technology, said: “We hope that the Tech4Kids initiative will help support families during these tough times. Digital famine is rife in Northamptonshire and we should all be doing all we can to support people and children in giving them a chance to communicate, educate and learn whilst we are in lockdown in our own homes.
"Guru Technology have spent £25,000 ourselves and delivered equipment to people and schools supporting over 300 children so far. We hope, with the help of Northamptonshire Community Foundation, ACS and other supporting organisations, we can take that support even further.”
Weston Favell Food Bank, the McCarthy-Dixon Foundation, Re:Store Northampton, Springs Family Centre, Home-Start Wellingborough and District, SOFEA and Home-Start Kettering are the first groups to benefit from the initiative, each receiving funding to order the equipment through Guru Technology.
Clive Ireson, development manager of Springs Family Centre, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Tech4Kids campaign. It will enable more disadvantaged children and young people to access learning and support and prevent them from becoming isolated and falling further behind.”
A Just Giving page has been set up to encourage other businesses and individuals to support the initiative, enabling a larger funding pot and helping to reduce digital exclusion in Northamptonshire. If you would like to contribute, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/tech4kids