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Digital divide: Community Foundation partners with IT firm to deliver laptops to students

A NEW initiative to distribute old, used and surplus laptops to students has been launched by Milton Keynes Community Foundation in partnership with an IT company based in the city.

Businesses and residents are being encouraged to donate their unused devices so they can be reused. 

The lockdown highlighted the number of young people without access to online teaching due to lack of equipment and internet access. Through its Vital Signs 2020 research, the Community Foundation discovered that almost 11,000 children in Milton Keynes are living in relative poverty.

The project, developed in partnership with It’s What’s Next IT, will help to alleviate this not only during Covid-19 restrictions but also for the long term, it says.  

MKCF’s philanthropy manager Kay Jackson said: “MK Community Foundation are delighted to be working with It’s What’s Next IT to help alleviate the issues around child poverty and digital poverty in Milton Keynes. 

“We believe this scheme will offer much-needed help to children in need who will be able to continue their education and learning because of this project, which is vital to the mental health and wellbeing of the child”

Many children in Milton Keynes tdo not have laptops for homework, revision and home schooling. Having access to a laptop will help with their educational development and give them confidence to get back on track.  

Matt Reynolds, founder and chief executive of It’s What’s Next IT, said: “There was already a digital divide between families that had access to computers for education and those who did not prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdowns have highlighted the need to focus on this issue in a long-term, sustainable, and equitable way. 

“We are thrilled to be able to work with local businesses to create genuine, long-term change around this critical issue of socio-economic equality of access to education.”

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