How you can help get computers to Suffolk pupils who need them

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The IT Kit for Kids campaign has been launched today - Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Today this newspaper is helping launch the new IT Kit for Kids campaign, to secure laptops and tablets for students in Suffolk - and ensure no child's education is left behind in the coronavirus crisis.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology in our daily lives, particularly as many schoolchildren have been forced to learn from home for weeks and months at a time.

But far too many go without - and this digital divide could have devastating effects on their futures.

We have teamed up with Suffolk County Council and Ipswich-based Creative Computing Club as we aim to partner schoolchildren with the kit they need to continue their education. 

Since June 2020, Suffolk County Council has worked with schools to provide around 1,000 laptops, 100 tablets and 150 4G hotspots to children without access to technology - but more is needed.

While the IT Kit for Kids campaign has been launched amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it is hoped the equipment will benefit Suffolk's schoolchildren in the years to come.

If you have any spare wi-fi-capable laptops running Windows 10 or other equipment that you would like to donate, please fill out the form on the Creative Computing Club's website. The Creative Computing Club will ensure the laptop is wiped of any personal data. If residents or business do not have spare equipment but want to make a financial contribution to help children access digital resources they can visit the JustGiving page.

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said she was delighted to launch the campaign.

Mary Evans

Suffolk County Council's Mary Evans has highlighted the importance of distributing laptops and equipment - Credit: Gregg Brownn

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"Our young people across Suffolk are learning from home and with so many aspects of life now relying on access to computers and the internet, it is essential children and young people have the technology to enable them to learn, and socialise virtually with their friends and family.

"I know there are many fantastic community groups across the county working already with their local schools to ensure that they have the kit they need for their students to join in remote classes.

"I would encourage everyone to support the campaign whether they are residents with a laptop they no longer need or businesses with devices they can contribute."

Jack Abbott, Labour's spokesperson for children's services, education and skills, said: “This is an incredible initiative led by the Creative Computing Club who have already done so much to help children and young people through this pandemic.

“As someone who has long pushed for more action to close the digital divide, I certainly endorse this campaign to ensure that every pupil in our county can access learning and education.”

Brad Jones, editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star, said: "We're delighted to be a part of a campaign which will have such a positive impact on the lives of many young people - and help parents hugely as they continue to home-school children during lockdown. But this is not just about lockdown, it's important to recognise the long-term benefits too."

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