The charitable campaign facilitates the donation, secure erasure and distribution of used digital devices to children who could otherwise fall behind in their studies due to their circumstances.
The charity was launched by the Sheffield Star and David Richards, the founder of data software company WANdisco plc, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam in 2017, in response to the switch to home-schooling caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The laptops, delivered on Tuesday (16 March), will be securely wiped by experts at the WANdisco Data Academy at Sheffield College, equipped with free educational software and then distributed to schools according to need by Learn Sheffield, a not-for-profit company supported by local schools and colleges and Sheffield City Council.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, Richard Calvert, said: “It is fantastic news that we are able to support such a worthwhile project that is helping thousands of children bridge the digital divide and fulfil their potential.
“We have worked throughout the pandemic to support the city and region, through our students, our staff and our facilities, and we’re delighted to be able to contribute to an initiative like this that drives positive change across society.”
David Richards, founder and CEO of WANdisco plc, said: “Many thanks to Sheffield Hallam University for supporting Laptops for Kids with this generous donation. The pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in our society and with the world moving online, we need to make sure young people can access the opportunities they need to realise their dreams, whether schools are open or closed. We urge employers to support this cause.”
James Thompson, Head of Academy, Computing and Engineering at Sheffield College said: “The response from business and the community has been fantastic with the opportunity for our learners and volunteers to be part of the process of recycling so many devices.
“Each device we send out enables learners to continue their education out of the classroom and helping make this difference has driven us throughout.”
According to the Children’s Commissioner, nine per cent of families do not have a laptop, tablet or desktop at home.
Laptops for Kids partners include Blancco plc, the global leader in certified data erasure, Twinkl, the online educational publisher, WANdisco plc, the data software company jointly headquartered in Sheffield and Silicon Valley, the BBC Make a Difference initiative, Natterhub, an educational social media platform, and the non-political Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
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