Phil Priestley (founder member) with his son, Jonathan, Cllr Lis Every and Ed Ouzman (founder member).
East Cambridgeshire District Council is offering a provision of laptops and desktop computers to local schools in a move to help solve educational technology shortages in the district.
Approximately 13 laptops and 50 desktops from the Council will be donated to the Digital Drive Cambridgeshire and Peterborough where they will be upgraded to meet the needs of schools across the district.
The donation will allow schools to offer computers to students who require them for home learning during lockdown and beyond, while also bolstering classroom supplies for their reopening.
Councillor David Ambrose-Smith, Chairman of the Operational Services Committee, said:
“After being unable to physically see our friends and family due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen just how important technology can be in connecting people and in addition to this, a tool that has been heavily relied upon to support children’s home learning.
“As a Council we understand that not everyone is able to access this and felt it was incredibly important for us to play our part.
“We are delighted to be able to donate these laptops and desktops and we hope that they benefit the children who receive them.”
Councillor Lis Every, Chairman of the East Cambs Community Safety Partnership, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the lives of everyone, including children and ensuring they are able to complete online learning, is vital.
“The Digital Drive for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough identified that around 8,000 children do not currently have access to such provisions and ensuring that children have the tools to complete learning is absolutely vital.
“I would urge all business or individuals who might be able to contribute, to visit the Digital Drive website and get involved.
“Whether you have an old laptop you can donate or you are able to volunteer some of your time, every contribution goes a long way.”
The East Cambs Community Safety Partnership has pledged to fund new hard drives for the devices donated by the Council.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Digital Drive was launched by The Cambs Youth Panel and Cambridge 2030 alongside the Cambridgeshire Digital Partnership.
Simon Bywater, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council's Children and Young People's Committee, added: "On behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council, I would like to thank East Cambridgeshire District Council for supporting our laptops for children initiative by making this generous donation; it will make a huge difference to the learning and development of local children most in need of access to a device. Over the past year, education has been at the forefront of everything we do, and it is heart-warming to see the ever-increasing number of organisations investing in the future of our children and young people."
Phil Priestly, Lead Adult Facilitator at Cambs Youth Panel, said: “East Cambridgeshire District Council are doing everything they can to recognise and acknowledge the dangers of digital inequality - not only in lockdown, but with regard to our pandemic preparedness and also in the COVID aftermath.
“By making a donation of this kind they are leading by example in East Cambs and they will strengthen the education of every child receiving a device. I would add my voice to the countless others urging businesses to dig into their unused equipment to do the same.”
Find out more about how to get involved and donate on the Digital Drive webpage.