Asda in Gillingham recently delivered 10 laptops to Gillingham Primary School as part of the supermarket’s initiative to provide more than 7,000 laptops to schools across the UK to help tackle digital exclusion.
Nationally, Asda has formed a partnership with technology provider Dell to invest more than £2 million so that every Asda store in the UK can donate at least 10 laptops to a school in need in their local community.
The initiative was launched to support schools that are struggling with digital exclusion. According to Ofcom, around nine per cent of children in the UK – between 1.1 million and 1.8 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. These children are primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds and at risk of falling further behind with their education, a situation made worse by the recent Covid-19 lockdowns.
According to researchers at Cambridge University, the lockdowns ‘risk turning the problem of digital exclusion into a catastrophe of lost education and opportunity for the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable’.
And whilst children are now returning to the classrooms, there is still a need for technology to support education activities inside the classroom, homework tasks, learning during the school holidays and to help schools future proof their home learning capabilities.
Gillingham Primary has a proportion of families struggling to access technology. ‘I’ve a really close relationship with Gillingham Primary School and I know what a massive difference this donation is going to make to the school on receiving these laptops,’ says Asda Gillingham Community Champion Emma Sleeth, who nominated Gillingham Primary to receive the laptops.
‘I’m proud that Asda can help to play a small part in helping to break down the digital barriers so the children can continue their education remotely both now and in the future.’
Gillingham Primary’s head teacher Sue Preston is delighted. ‘It was such a surprise and we can’t thank Asda enough for choosing our school to receive these laptops. This donation will go a long way in helping children gain access to the technology and data packages that will help to break down some of the digital barriers that exist.’
Each laptop comes with a tech bundle that includes a headset and a mobile internet dongle with a data allowance of 20gb from Asda’s network partner Vodafone. The laptops come with a one year warranty and technical support and Asda’s in-house IT support team will also provide support to any school that needs help to set up the equipment.
The dongle and data allowance is funded by a separate £500,000 contribution from the retailer’s charity arm, The Asda Foundation. In the autumn 2020 term, the foundation awarded more than half a million pounds to hundreds of schools through the provision of grants covering stationery, school uniform banks, breakfast clubs and more.
Asda Gillingham was able to secure grants for nine of the local schools in the area. This support has gone some way to meet the increasing need for access to devices and data.