Blog Preston is today joining with publications, politicians, councils and other organisations across the North of England to support the Cash for Connectivity appeal.Advertisement
The emergency fundraising is targeting £1.2m to help provide free internet to 100,000 disadvantaged households across the North – including here in Preston and Lancashire.
Read more:Preston and South Ribble Street Pastors receive £12k to help them support vulnerable and homeless people
Many young children are being denied their basic right to education because they cannot access online learning at home during lockdown.
The appeal is part of the Laptops for Kids campaign, launched by technology entrepreneur David Richards and supported by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and a growing number of newspapers, websites, businesses and local authorities – including LancsLive and the Lancashire Telegraph here in Lancashire.
Cash for Connectivity will fund the purchase of dongles – inexpensive hardware to connect laptops and up to five other devices per household to the internet.
Read more:Grimsargh Wetlands Trust receives £1,250 donation
We’re calling on Blog Preston readers to help donate £10,000 towards this total as an initial target.
Northern MP Julie Elliott is also leading calls for mobile network operators to supply free sim cards for use with the dongles.
David Richards, founder and CEO of data software company WANdisco plc, said: “This is a quick and inexpensive fix to an urgent social problem and we encourage readers to donate.
“Connectivity is as important as water and should be freely available to those in need. Together we can help end the data drought in the North of England.”
Read more: Cottam’s Tipping family raise over £25,000 for charity
Sarah Mulholland, Head of Policy at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “While it’s fantastic that people and businesses are donating laptops and devices to help children learn from home, equally as important is ensuring that families have internet connectivity.
“The pandemic has deepened existing disparities in education, with the most disadvantaged children at risk of falling even further behind their classmates if we don’t step in.
“With help from people across the North, we’re confident we can ensure our young people are able to get the technology they need to keep on learning.”
Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, said: “Too many children are currently trying to access their education from home, without suitable devices or data, and this campaign has been launched to try and solve this.
“It is an inexpensive solution that can reach the people that need it, and that can help so many young people who are disconnected and at risk of falling behind.
“We have already seen lots of generous people who have given so much, including donating laptops and devices all across the North.
“Providing those that need it with the connection to the internet is just as important too, and I do hope that by working together, we can help as many people as we can.”
The Laptops for Kids campaign launched in Sheffield in September and is scaling up across the North with its proven method of sourcing, securely erasing and distributing devices to schools, according to need.
Read more: Call for Lancashire not to be penalised by having Covid vaccine supply cut
Partners include Blancco plc, the global leader in certified data erasure, the non-political Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Twinkl, the online educational publisher, and WANdisco plc, the data software company jointly headquartered in Sheffield and Silicon Valley.
Blog Preston is urging its users to help others in their community in support of the campaign.
Founder of Blog Preston and now editor-in-chief for InYourArea, Ed Walker, said: “Our journalists have been inundated by messages from those struggling with homeschooling, and many of us feel that pressure too with children at home at the moment.
“Not having a consistent and reliable connection means the learning chances of those who need it most in communities across the North is being hit by buffering or sometimes having no connection at all.
“I am proud to back this campaign which will help make a real difference, and quickly, to many.”
You can donate via the GoFundMe page.
See the latest news and information near you
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines