Laptop campaign helps single mother in Sheffield build a better future for her children

A single mother-of-three is now able to help her children ‘make a better future for themselves’ thanks to a laptop campaign which is helping disadvantaged young people across Sheffield.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 7:00 am

The Laptops for Kids campaign - launched by The Star, WANdisco and Learn Sheffield - has donated a device to the family, which will enable the children to access online learning at home.

Although she works full time as a cleaner in a care home, Violet* told how her £98 a week wage ‘barely’ covers rent, food and bills, meaning the children have had to do their school work via her mobile phone.

Violet said: “It is really difficult. I am working every day to help look after vulnerable people in care homes but I still cannot afford to provide for my children.

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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 and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.

“They do not deserve to be in this situation. They need something to do their school work on to make a better future for themselves.

"I worry they will go out to steal or do something stupid because I cannot get what they need. It breaks my heart.”

The laptop donation means that Violet’s children will no longer have to rely on her mobile phone - which has limited data and patchy internet coverage - to keep up with their studies.

Her 17-year-old daughter is studying to be a midwife at college while her sports-mad boys, aged 10 and 16, are in primary and secondary school.

Violet added: “Thank you so much to everybody who has supported the Laptops for Kids campaign. We appreciate it.”

It is welcome news for the family, who were made homeless last year when Violet fell into arrears with her rent. They have since been rehoused by a charity.

It is estimated that there are 11,000 children in Sheffield alone with no access to a device and this is causing many to fall behind with their education.

David Richards, CEO of WANdisco, said: “Just one device can make all the difference to a family like Violet’s.

“Access to education is a basic human right but without internet connectivity at home, children are being shut out.

“We urge companies to back our bid to close the digital divide and help young people to fulfil their ambitions.”

A number of Sheffield businesses and individuals have donated to the campaign so far, including: City Taxis, Westfield Health, DLA Piper, Benchmark Recruit, local charities and private individuals.

The Laptops for Kids campaign is still seeking unused laptops, tablets, desktops and chargers.

Donors can wipe devices themselves or the campaign can arrange for the certified secure erasure of devices with software donated by Blancco, a data security firm.

Learn Sheffield is distributing laptops to schools, according to need. If you are a parent, enquiries should be made with your child’s school to find out whether they are eligible.

To support the Laptops for Kids campaign and to organise a donation, visit www.LTFK.co.uk

*Violet’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

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