The Cash for Connectivity appeal is calling on all readers across the north to help raise £1.2 million to provide free internet access to 100,000 disadvantaged households across Northern England.
With schools closed, many young children across northern England are being denied their basic right to education because they cannot access online learning at home during lockdown. There is a real risk that existing disparities in education will deepen, with the most disadvantaged children at risk of falling even further behind, says Reach.
All monies raised will fund the purchase of dongles and inexpensive hardware to connect laptops for up to five other devices per household to the internet.
The initiative is part of the Laptop for Kids campaign, launched by technology entrepreneur David Richards and supported by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Reach’s Northern titles and a growing number of newspapers, businesses and local authorities.
Laptops for Kids 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.
Editor-in-chief and audience and content director for Reach’s regional titles, Ed Walker, said: “Both InYourArea and our regional titles across the North of England are all about connecting our communities.
“Our journalists have been inundated by messages from those struggling with home schooling, and many of us feel that pressure too with children at home at the moment. I am proud to lead InYourArea and Reach’s regional titles across the North in uniting to urge our readers to help us make a real difference, and quickly, to many.”
Sarah Mulholland Head of Policy at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said “While it's fantastic that people are donating laptops and devices to help children learn from home, equally as important is ensuring that families have internet connectivity. With help from people across the North, we are confident we can ensure our young people are able to get the technology they need to keep on learning.”
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