Taskforce of business and civic leaders want individuals and businesses to get behind laptop campaign to help Sheffield’s young people

A campaign which is hoping to close the ‘digital divide’ amongst thousands of disadvantaged young people in Sheffield is now able to accept donations from individuals as well as businesses.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 12:30 pm

The Laptops for Kids campaign - launched by The Star, WANdisco and Learn Sheffield last month - was originally only able to accept computers from organisations.

However, due to the thousands of young people who are still without access to a computer or the Internet, donations from individuals can now be accepted.

David Richards, CEO of WANdisco, said: “There are thousands and thousands of households in Sheffield where children cannot keep up with their education during the pandemic because they cannot get online.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Laptops for Kids campaign was officially launched in September. Pictured are David Richards, CEO of WANdisco and Abtisam Mohamed, Labour Councillor for the Firth Park Ward Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.

David is part of a taskforce of business and civic leaders that has been created to help scale up the Laptops for Kids campaign.

He will be co-chairing the group alongside The Star editor Nancy Fielder, who is also part of the taskforce.

David added: “Our taskforce will pool the considerable expertise, experience and connections of members to help close this digital divide and enable more young people to fulfil their true potential.”

Other members of the taskforce include David Angrave, chief operating officer of online educational publisher Twinkl; Stephen Betts, CEO of Learn Sheffield; Andrew Coombe, Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire; Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive & Principal of The Sheffield College; Michael Hayman, co-founder of campaigns firm Seven Hills; Cllr Abtisam Mohamed, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield City Council; Henri Murison, director of the non-political Northern Powerhouse Partnership; and Manjit Sareen, CEO and co-founder of educational social media platform Natterhub.

They will work together to help promote the campaign and develop its supply chain.

Less fortunate children are seeing their education suffer as a result of having no computer or Internet access and this is becoming more of a concern as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt schools.

The Laptops for Kids campaign is aiming to prevent this happening by supplying free computers to the city’s young people in need.

Organisations who have donated computers to the campaign so far include global law firm DLA Piper, recruitment specialist Benchmark Recruit and local charities.

Discussions are currently being made with a number of large employers to secure wider levels of support.

Thousands of donations are required from both individuals and businesses.

The process for individual donors remains the same and Learn Sheffield will coordinate the distribution of the devices to schools.

Anyone who has an old laptop to donate should email [email protected] in the first instance - this is so WANdisco can track donations and correctly advise people of the next steps.

Depending on the condition of devices and data erasure needs, people will be advised to drop their devices off at designated drop off points in the city.

Drop off points currently include Sheffield College, Twinkl and Cutlers’ Hall.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.