Launched in 2020 as a regional emergency response to support students with their home learning whilst schools were closed during the pandemic lockdown, the Greater Manchester Technology Fund (GM Tech Fund) has recently finished its third phase.
Using a sustainable model to contribute to the circular economy, the GM Tech Fund provides a mechanism for businesses to repurpose their old devices, and during the third phase, have them refurbished and donated to the city-region's Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRU).
Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (external website) (GMFRS) was just one of the organisations that were able to support phase 3 of the GM Tech Fund, supporting 7 local SEND Schools and PRUs by donating 60 refurbished laptops and 10 iPads.
“GMFRS decided to donate laptops to students because we believe in the power of education and equal opportunities. By providing these essential tools, we bridge the digital divide, empower young minds, and pave the way for a brighter future. Every laptop donated is a step closer to unlocking the full potential of each student, creating a pathway for success and inspiring them to reach for the stars." said Mark Winrow, service operations lead for GMFRS
Recycle IT delivered the devices to each of the 7 Greater Manchester schools, donating an additional 10 iPads to the cause. The combined donation from GMFRS and Recycle IT has supported PRU and SEND school pupils at risk of facing digital exclusion during the current cost of living crisis.
These refurbished devices bring with them the opportunity for students to build their digital skills, access online learning, as well as completing homework.
“The students are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the devices provided. The students have been motivated to engage with the activities and have been able to expand their digital skills in relation to different operating systems. This has proven very beneficial for some students who are aspiring for employment in the future.” says N Holland, FEU Head of Department at Hope School and College.
Phase 3 of the GM Tech Fund saw a total of 163 devices be distributed between 16 alternative education settings, bringing the total of young people supported across Greater Manchester, since the launch of the GM Tech Fund to around 3,600.
The Greater Manchester Technology Fund is another way that our businesses can contribute to the Greater Manchester effort to address digital and social exclusion and ensure local families have equal access to learning and opportunity, regardless of background or situation.
There are several ways businesses can continue to support Greater Manchester residents:
- Continue to donate devices to community settings across Greater Manchester
- Offer skills and career support for both teachers and young people
- Volunteer with GMCA by strategically supporting a school and becoming an Enterprise Adviser, offering experiences of the workplace or provide digital content for GMACS – Find out more here. You can support schools/ colleges to link education to industry, to empower young people to realise their potential and to understand pathways and careers available to them in Greater Manchester after education.
- Join the Greater Manchester Databank
For more information, please visit Get Online Greater Manchester.