Local businesses have stepped forward with donations to help ensure every Hull pupil, aged eight to 16, has access to a laptop.
Several businesses have made financial contributions and donated laptops following a plea from Hull City Council asking local businesses if they could help bridge the digital divide.
Allenby Commercial, Hull Esteem Consortium and the Spencer Group have all made significant contributions, as have other organisations including Hull Children’s University, Arco, SPACE, Siemens Gamesa, Eight Fifty Group, Chaucer Foods, Dunstan Ship Repairs, Connexin, Garness Jones, Croda, McCain and Fenner Dunlop.
The council set up an Every Child Connected working group at the start of 2021 with the ambition that every child attending a Hull school has access to a laptop and is not disadvantaged due to a lack of technology and equipment. The group, comprising Academy Trusts and Council representatives, established that 14 percent of pupils, 3,681 children, were without access to a device at home at the start of the year.
Since then the council has allocated £250,000 from the Outbreak Management Fund which funded 1500 laptops and 150 Mobile Mifi Devices and local food company Cranswick donated 1,156 laptops.
Now hundreds more devices have been purchased thanks to local businesses.
Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Shane McMurray said: “It is fantastic that local people and businesses are coming together to support the future generation. I am, and I know the schools are, extremely grateful to these local companies for their donations.
“This scheme is not just to support our young people during Covid, it’s to support them in their education and learning over the months and years ahead. As more and more of education, social and economic life takes place online, it’s vital our young people are able to be fully involved in the progressive technological future.”
Andrew Allenby, founder and Managing Director of Allenby Commercial, said: “All of our property developments in Hull and across the wider region are about people, and the priority is to create jobs by providing high-quality buildings which will help local businesses expand and attract new investment into the city.
“Our donation is an extension of that. Children and young people growing up in Hull deserve the opportunities which come from a good education but many of them need more support. Every Child Connected is a fantastic project which is particularly important at a time when we have seen so much disruption in education. We are proud to support it.”
Gavin Barley, General Manager for Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd said: “Our partners jumped at the chance to support such a great cause to help bridge the digital divide in Hull, and we can’t thank them enough for their significant donations.
“To see so many other local businesses step forward to donate laptops or raise funds to support the next generation’s education just shows how crucial it is, now more than ever. Online learning is more essential than ever, so every donation really does make a difference.”
Charlie Spencer OBE, founder and Executive Chairman of engineering business Spencer Group, said: “As a company founded and based in Hull and committed to employing young people from the city, we’re delighted to support this campaign.
“It’s so important that every child in the city has access to devices they can use at home to support their in-school education, especially when it is now critical that young people have the digital skills to thrive in today’s technology-driven world of work.
“It’s fantastic that the local business community is working with Hull City Council to support the learning and development of so many schoolchildren in this very practical and effective way.”
Any business that is able to help further bridge the gap further should contact CovidEd@hullcc.gov.uk
The laptops will be owned by the schools, and loaned to pupils.