Earlier in the year, the Council made a pledge to support children who are unable to take part in online learning from home. This “digital divide” emerged as a major issue during the pandemic, with research showing over a third of pupils over the age of seven without access to a laptop or the internet.
Gavin Barley, General Manager for Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd said:
“Our partners jumped at the chance to support such a great cause to help bridge the digital divide in Hull, and we can’t thank them enough for their significant donations.
“To see so many other local businesses step forward to donate laptops or raise funds to support the next generation’s education just shows how crucial it is, now more than ever. Online learning is more essential than ever, so every donation really does make a difference.”
The council set up an Every Child Connected working group at the start of 2021 with the ambition that every child attending a Hull school has access to a laptop and is not disadvantaged due to a lack of technology and equipment. The group, comprising Academy Trusts and Council representatives, established that 14 percent of pupils, 3,681 children, were without access to a device at home at the start of the year.
Since then, the council has allocated £250,000 from the Outbreak Management Fund which funded 1500 laptops and 150 Mobile Mifi Devices and local food company Cranswick donated 1,156 laptops.
Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Shane McMurray said: “It is fantastic that local people and businesses are coming together to support the future generation. I am, and I know the schools are, extremely grateful to these local companies for their donations.
“This scheme is not just to support our young people during Covid, it’s to support them in their education and learning over the months and years ahead. As more and more of education, social and economic life takes place online, it’s vital our young people are able to be fully involved in the progressive technological future.”
Hull Esteem urge other businesses to get involved. Any business that is able to help further bridge the gap further should contact CovidEd@hullcc.gov.uk
Read more about other businesses who have made financial contributions and donated laptops, here.
The laptops will be owned by the schools and loaned to pupils.
Photo credit: Richard Addison
Photo caption: Gavin Barley, General Manager Hull Esteem on behalf of all partners who donated, Richard Skog, Project Manager Every Child Connected and Andy McNulty from Gleeds.