Digital Young People

638 digitally excluded young learners benefit from digital kit donations

  • 638 disadvantaged young learners have received digital kit bundles
  • Organisations supporting the Technology Fund include Huawei, One Manchester, Boohoo, ao and Irwell Consulting
  • 131 schools and colleges have registered urgent need of support for over 13,200 students

Following the launch of the Greater Manchester Technology Fund, 638 disadvantaged young learners from across Greater Manchester have received the digital kit needed to continue their learning at home.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham launched phase two of the Greater Manchester Technology Fund in January, as an emergency response to support young people at risk of digital exclusion to continue their education and positively engage in their communities whilst schools and colleges remain closed.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) have been working closely with schools and colleges, across all ten local authority areas, coordinating needs assessments to understand their technology requirements and identify those students most in need of support.

The digital kit bundles are provided to schools and colleges to directly manage and distribute to those students with the highest need. A ‘digital kit bundle’ includes a laptop or tablet and the required tools to get online.

Since phase two of the GM Tech Fund launched 131 schools and colleges have registered urgent need of support for over 13,200 students across Greater Manchester.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO at Hopwood Hall College, Rochdale said: “We are so grateful to have received these laptops from Boohoo as part of the GM Tech Fund. This initiative benefits those students who need it most and is vital in helping us to bridge the digital divide caused by lockdown.

“Our goal is to always ensure our learners reach their full potential, and this equipment will play a huge part in making sure this continues to happen.”

Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force, Diane Modahl was earlier this year, announced as the lead for this drive to businesses to help disadvantaged young people as part of the Young Person’s Guarantee for Greater Manchester.

Lead for the Greater Manchester Tech Fund, Diane Modahl MBE said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all the organisations and individuals who have come forward to support the Greater Manchester Tech Fund so far.

“With each donation we are getting closer to closing the gap and preventing our young learners from becoming increasingly marginalised and at a disadvantage to their peers. We still have a way to go, which is why we are asking anyone who can support our digitally excluded young people, to do so in any way they can.”

Organisations who have already supported the GM Tech Fund include ao, Huawei, One Manchester, Boohoo, One Consulting, Irwell Consulting, 18 St John Street Chambers and Arup Group through the donation of new and used technology and financial donations to purchase the technology needed for young people to continue their learning from home.

To date, the GM Tech Fund has raised £260,100 in donations of funds, new tech data packages and used device donations.

AO Founder and Chief Executive, John Roberts, said: “We’re delighted to donate this vital equipment to the Greater Manchester Tech Fund to help young people in our home region.  Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not and we’re proud to be part of this effort to help every young person fulfil their potential.”

In Phase one of the GM Tech Fund the GMCA, Virgin Media Business and ANS funded the purchase of 567 kit bundles for the most disadvantaged and digitally excluded pupils In Greater Manchester.

On Friday 22nd January, GMCA partnered with the Manchester Evening News to hold a Digital Donation Day to encourage businesses and individuals to support the GM Tech Fund. The Digital Donation Day raised £188,600 in donations of funds, new tech and data packages and used device donations for the GM Tech Fund, to help digitally excluded young people across Greater Manchester.

Businesses are being asked to support the fund by: 

  • Donating used working devices which will be repurposed by Business in the Community
  • Donating data packages particularly sim cards, portable hotspots, dongles and other connectivity devices 
  • Donating new devices particularly laptops, Chromebooks and iPads 
  • Making a financial donation to enable the purchase of digital kit bundles

The tech fund is working in partnership with national charity, Business in the Community to accept donations of used technology devices and smart phones to be redistributed to young people through schools, colleges, and support workers.

Find out more and support the GM Tech Fund

Article Published: 11/02/2021 09:48 AM