Home-schooling children helped by NBRN’s technology appeal

Three companies who responded to the NBRN’s technology appeal have donated thousands of laptops and mobiles to help home learners hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Three companies who responded to the National Business Response Network’s (NBRN) technology appeal have donated thousands of laptops and mobiles to help home learners hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.

About two million UK households do not have the internet or access to mobiles, tablets and laptops1, placing many children at a disadvantage when schooling moved online.

The NBRN, a Business in the Community (BITC) initiative designed to give urgent support through the pandemic, donated devices to those in need.

With the help of BITC members the NBRN offered a lifeline to families at risk of being isolated, helping to get them online and minimising the impact on schoolchildren’s education.

CVC Capital: £8,500 donated by employees

Private equity and investment advisory firm CVC has taken a stand against digital inequality with a scheme encouraging staff to contribute towards buying laptops for students in need.  

Through a Virgin Money online fundraiser, employees at the company have raised more than £8,500. The NBRN has used these funds to buy and distribute Chromebooks and laptops to charities and schools.

The employees’ generosity will be boosted by The CVC Foundation, the firm’s philanthropic arm, which will buy up to five laptops for every one purchased through donations.   

John Lewis: Charity hails ‘wonderful donation’

The John Lewis Foundation has donated 50 mobiles and 71 laptops from John Lewis to the appeal and is actively exploring other ways to help, potentially donating devices returned by customers.

One of the beneficiaries of the devices was Scottish charity The Libertie Project, which works with offenders and those affected by crime.

Libertie project Chief executive Liberty Bligh said: “Three of the laptops have already been allocated to young care leavers who are living in temporary homeless accommodation during lockdown. It will make such a difference to them.”

Virgin Media: More than 1,000 laptops and mobile dongles delivered

The telecoms giant has rallied the public to donate unwanted technology and help a range of education projects through its Help for Home Learners campaign, a BITC partnership.

The campaign has seen 1,029 laptops and mobile dongles delivered to deserving causes, well on the way to a target of 1,500.

Katie Buchanan, Head of Sustainability at Virgin Media, said: “Although schools are now open, the digital divide hasn’t disappeared and having access to online learning resources remains incredibly important.

“We’re proud to be working with the NBRN to provide more than 1,000 laptops and dongles to those who need them most.”

Among the recipients was Rubicon Dance, an arts organisation based in Cardiff, South Wales.

Paul Davies, Rubicon’s head of vocational training, said: “We cannot thank Virgin Media enough for the generous contribution of laptops for our full-time course. Our students will benefit hugely.”

The NBRN connects businesses with local community organisations across the UK to harness the resources and expertise needed to help them build back in this difficult time. To date it has made more than 3,000 connections.

If your business can help with technology, digital expertise or logistics, or in other ways visit the National Business Response Network website.

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  1. Annie Kelly (2020) Digital divide ‘isolates and endangers’ millions of UK’s poorest, The Guardian, 28 April.