Ark ICT based in Pinchbeck and Simply Magazines based in West Pinchbeck have teamed up to help families in South Lincolnshire source the equipment required to aid home learning with the help of local businesses and residents.
According to Ofcom it is estimated that around 9% of children in the UK do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet in the home. With many children now expected to learn from home during the current lockdown restrictions it is vital that they have the tools needed for this.
Phil Callow of Ark ICT and Hayley Hammond of Simply Magazines both understand first-hand how difficult the challenge is to be at home, working, caring and home schooling as they both have school aged children. Hayley approached Phil as the IT specialists in education locally with the idea to work with local businesses and residents to use redundant equipment at home or in the work place and distribute to the families that have a need for home schooling. Hayley commented;
“After just a couple of days of the new systems in place I could see on social media how difficult it was for some families to even access the teaching now being offered online from the schools locally. There are some great examples of community spirit of neighbours printing work etc but it really will be a huge disadvantage to children if they aren’t all on a level playing field in terms of accessing the online teaching”
And this is where the idea for ‘Clear Out to Help Out’ was born. It is a simple process of residents or local businesses are able to offer their equipment which is no longer required to be used by local families. Ark ICT will take care of safely removing all data from the previous owner and restoring to factory settings, they will then upload the required programs for home learning. Currently there is a huge demand for laptops and printers, so if you have anything you are able to donate please either call them on 01775 828540 or drop off to Ark ICT in Pinchbeck during office hours. Any equipment that is not suitable will pass through their recycling program, again wiping all historic data.
The other difficulty families are experiencing is simply accessing the internet. Many homes do not have broadband and rely on 4G through their mobile phone, in just a couple of days two live lessons on Microsoft teams could use around 30GB of data – more than most people would use in a month!
How Can You Get Involved?
If you have individual items that you are able to donate (laptops and printers) then please take then to Ark ICT at Unit 6 Venture Court, Pinchbeck, Spalding, PE11 3BG (opposite TC Harrison Ford) or call 01775 828540 with any queries or to arrange collection.
If you are a larger business with several items to donate then please call 01775 828540 to arrange delivery or collection.
There is also the opportunity to ‘sponsor a family’ and this is to provide them with internet access for a period of time whilst children are required to be taught in the home. This faces its own challenges without long contracts and equipment installation. Phil has managed to agree a deal with GiffGaff to provide the service for short periods with no tie in using the 4G network. If you are able to and would like to sponsor a local family please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phil and Hayley are hoping many local businesses will see the value in investing in their potential employees of the future, something Phil is very passionate about;
“We already run a scheme here at Ark ICT to furnish a number of Year 6 students with laptops when they embark on secondary school life. We work with schools to find families that may be struggling and the children would otherwise never have access to the technology. With home learning currently being the only source of education for many pupils it is vital we all support our next generation to achieve the best they can. They really will be the employees of the future for many local businesses.”
There are several options for sponsorship for internet access and this is open not only to businesses but if individuals are willing to sponsor a family it will all be a huge help to local children:
1 family for 1 month – £40
2 families x 1 month – £80
1 family x 3 months – £120
2 families x 2 months – £160
2 families x 3 months – £240
5 families x 3 months – £600
How To Access the Equipment
Once the laptops and printers have been cleaned and the required programs installed a ‘stock list’ will be available for all schools across South Lincolnshire to access.
If you feel you need help with equipment available at home or you are struggling to access the internet please contact your child’s school. The running costs for printers will have to be met the families unfortunately if equipment is available.
Clear Out to Help Out is planned to run as long as home schooling is required but the sooner equipment can get to families the sooner it will be making a difference.