Every Child Online: Funds flood in to schemes around the county

Mike Downes from the Rotary Club of Aylsham is co-ordinating an appeal for laptops and tablets for children.

Mike Downes from the Rotary Club of Aylsham is co-ordinating an appeal for laptops and tablets for children. - Credit: Archant

Alongside this newspaper's Every Child Online campaign, many others are pitching in with schemes to ensure every child has access to online learning.

An estimated 6,000 in the county are currently without a digital device to complete online learning, with 1,000 families believed to have no way at all to connect to the internet.

Mike Downes of Aylsham Rotary Club, who is also vice chair of Aylsham Learning Federation, has been raising funds and collecting equipment for students at schools in Aylsham, but he is now urging people to support our campaign after becoming overwhelmed with donations.

He said: "I realised that there was an issue with children not having access so we decided we would put out an appeal to see if we could get some together and we put a bit of money in to it as well.

"We thought we might be able to get about 20 computers to meet some of the demand, but in two weeks we've gathered 160-plus.

"We also made a donation page so if people could give money if they didn't have computers and we've now made £2,500.

"We've got to the point where we're actually having to say to some people, 'have a look at the EDP appeal', because we're struggling to cope with it as it is.

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"We're concentrating on the schools in Aylsham but we've met most of the need, so we're going to start in the surrounding areas as well."

Children need a laptop or tablet for homeschool.

Children need a laptop or tablet for homeschool. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

David Wickerson, at the Hamond Educational Charity in Breckland, has set aside a pot of the charity's money to pay for internet connections and equipment.

He said: "We've set up a ringfenced amount of money to help provide equipment and internet connections and we've had some heart-wrenching stories including one family who have three children and just one mobile phone in the house.

"Unfortunately, we're not able to donate actual laptops but we have researched the price of a suitable laptop to help students get on with school work, which we will then be able to provide a grant for.

"We've also been trying to sort out an internet connection for children who don't have access, as you need both to be able to learn online."

Anyone wishing to donate to the Hamond Educational Charity can do so here.

Those wishing to donate equipment to the Every Child Online campaign should email devices@norfolk.gov.uk.

To donate funds click here.

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