Council welcomes laptop donations to support disadvantaged children

18/01/2021, PR-9795

​Wakefield Council is saying a big thank you to local companies who have donated brand new laptops and tablets to support children in the district to learn from home during the latest national lockdown.

The Council's WFConnect digital donation scheme was launched just before Christmas to support disadvantaged children in the district to access IT equipment for home learning.

Thanks to generous donations from seven companies, a number of the district's most vulnerable children have now received vital equipment to support them to learn from home. So far the scheme has seen 21 children receive a device with more being made ready to send out this week.

The donating companies include PMG Management, Integrated Recruitment, RTC, Lockyers, C&K Careers, Strata Homes and ASUS, with IT equipment ranging from laptops and iPads, to desktops and even a Surface Pro worth around £900.

Cllr Maureen Cummings
Cllr Maureen Cummings

​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 and distributed to children across the district. A special thank you must go to ASUS, who have donated in excess of 50 new laptops and Chromebooks, a wonderfully kind gesture.

"However, we urgently need more to ensure that our children and young people do not suffer during this lockdown. As well as new equipment, we are asking residents and business to please donate your old or spare equipment so we can continue to support families with home learning during this difficult time."

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 Margaret Isherwood
Cllr Margaret Isherwood

​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."

WFConnect is accepting tablets, laptops, or dongles that are in working order and with a minimum of Windows 7, iOS 9.0, or Android 8.0 and above. This is typically anything 2015 or later.

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 Board at 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 and families should contact their school in the first instance. 

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