Council appeals for equipment donations to support children to learn at home

06/01/2021, PR-9777

Wakefield Council is appealing to businesses and residents to donate equipment to support children in the district to learn from home.

The Council's WFConnect digital donations scheme was launched just before Christmas to support disadvantaged children in the district to access IT equipment for home learning. A number of our most vulnerable children received vital equipment to support them to learn at home, thanks to early donations from local businesses and partner organisations.

In light of the latest national lockdown, the Council is appealing for further donations from anyone who has a laptop, notebook or tablet that they no longer use. The Council will restore the equipment and share with those that need it most to support with their home learning.

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Poverty, said: "We are so very grateful for all the equipment that has already been donated. It is a making a real difference to children and their families. But we urgently need more to ensure that our children and young people do not suffer during this lockdown. Please donate your old or spare equipment so we can continue to support families with home learning during this difficult time."

Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added: "No child should be left behind because they don't have access to IT equipment. If you have any spare equipment you no longer use, please do donate it if you can. It will support children in our district to be able to continue to learn during lockdown and beyond."

The Council is welcoming donations from businesses and members of the public.

WFConnect is accepting tablets, laptops, or dongles as long as they are in working order with a minimum of Windows 7, iOS 9.0, or for an Android 8.0 and above. This is typically anything 2015 or after.

During lockdown, donations can be made by emailing digitaldonations@wakefield.gov.uk with details of the equipment and also the name, address and telephone number of person making the donation. The Council will then make contact to arrange a collection.

The Council's scheme was created following a suggestion by young people representing the Build Our Futures Forum and UK Youth Parliament, when they presented their findings at the Children and Young People Partnership Board towards the end of last year. They identified digital poverty as a barrier to many young people accessing education, especially when isolating at home and being expected to undertake school work online.

The Council's WFConnect digital donations scheme is in addition to the Government scheme to provide laptops to disadvantaged pupils. The Department for Education is working directly with schools in the district to roll-out this scheme. Families should contact their school in the first instance and the school will make an application to the Government. The Council will step-in to support those who have not been able to access the Government support.

Funding from all ward members of £32,000 from the Capital Grants programme, is being match funded by the Council to deliver the scheme. A further £32,000 has now also been pledged by ward members after agreeing to forego an increase to allowances, bringing the total funding of the scheme to £96,000.

For more information about the scheme please visit WFConnect - Wakefield Council or email digitaldonations@wakefield.gov.uk