Laptop delivery in Rotherham helps thousands more children carry on learning

Teachers from various schools in Rotherham began collecting laptops for their pupils last week - donated by a local business as part of the Laptops for Kids campaign.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 10:17 am

AESSEAL - a designer and manufacturer of mechanical seals and support systems - donated £400,000 to the Laptops for Kids campaign last month, enabling thousands more young people throughout Rotherham to access online learning resources.

Although the cost of 1500 laptops was higher than expected due to additional VAT expenses, the firm has taken extra steps to ensure enough laptops are delivered.

Managing director at AESSEAL, Chris Rea, said: “Unfortunately, as VAT was applied to the laptops, £300,000 only bought 925 laptops. I have therefore personally secured 487 laptops.”

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Schools collected laptops from Rockingham Professional Development Centre. Pictured are David Naisbitt, CEO of Inspire trust and Cllr Gordan Watson, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for children's services & neighbourhood working.

Mr Rea believes Laptops for Kids is a cause that is ‘important to school children’ so has chosen to pay the additional cost of the second batch of laptops - which have been supplied by Wicresoft - out of his own pocket.

Sales manager at Wicresoft, Paul Wike, said: “AESSEAL have been one of our valued and loyal customers for the last 11 years. We have worked in partnership to supply them with IT infrastructure solutions and services, including laptops for their workforce of 1200 people for the last 11 years.

“When we heard that Chris Rea was donating funds to help children who do not have access to a laptop during the current pandemic, which is preventing them from being able to be educated remotely, we were delighted to assist in such an important and worthwhile cause. We were able to source and supply 487 laptops at cost, with no admin fee from ourselves, to enable Chris to get the maximum number of devices possible with the funds available.

“It’s fantastic that AESSEAL and Chris are helping so many children in the South Yorkshire and Wicresoft are delighted to be involved.”

Chris Rea, managing director of AESSEAL Plc. Picture: Chris Etchells

Rotherham Council helped to coordinate the delivery of the first batch of laptops at Rockingham Professional Development Centre last week, where schools were collecting from throughout the day.

Gareth Huxall, founder and CEO of start-up managed services provider ViVoTECH whose company supplied the first batch of devices, said: "Laptops are highly sought-after and difficult to source currently because so many children are desperately in need of them. We were delighted to fast-track the order from Laptops for Kids to help disadvantaged children in Rotherham access online learning. South Yorkshire is well ahead of other parts of the UK in solving this problem."

The remaining laptops are being delivered to schools accordingly.

The laptops and dongles through AESSEAL’s donation will help reduce the ‘digital divide’ in Rotherham, as it has done in Sheffield.

The estimated need for laptops and dongles is based on detailed survey data supplied by Sheffield schools and extrapolated across Rotherham and South Yorkshire.

Launched by The Star, WANdisco and Learn Sheffield in September 2020, the Laptops for Kids campaign model has now started to be scaled up across the North of England, including Doncaster, Newcastle, and more locations to follow.

For more information, to donate devices or to make a cash donation, visit: www.LTFK.co.uk

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