Local businesses help vulnerable students access online learning by donating devices

Local businesses have generously donated laptops and iPads to Camden schools to help bridge the ‘Digital Divide’ for students who are struggling to study at home without access to online lessons.

Last month Camden Council launched a scheme calling on businesses to donate spare devices and help the thousands of children in Camden’s schools who don’t have access to a device to learn at home.

So far, the donated devices include laptops from lifestyle brand Ted Baker London, Camden Market owners LabTech, Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group, and Holborn-based advertising clearance services company, Clearcast.

Calling on more local companies to step forward and donate much-needed devices, Council Leader Cllr Georgia Gould has also written to Camden-based businesses, asking them to back the Digital Divide campaign and help reach the Council's target of 2,300 devices.

This crisis has shone a light on the inequality in our community. Thousands of schoolchildren don’t have access to a device or internet to learn opening up a huge gap in education. Camden schools have worked hard over years to make sure that poverty is not a barrier to our young people fulfilling their ambitions and we are determined no-one is left behind by this crisis.

As many of 65% of pupils in some of our primary schools don’t have access to a device and, although the Government are providing devices to some, we still need 2,000 devices to make sure everyone can learn from home. Every day that passes is another day of lost learning, so we are asking for urgent help with this appeal.

Thank you to all the businesses that have donated so far, and I hope other local businesses and communities can also help secure enough devices to make sure no child is cut off from opportunity and learning.
Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of the Council
This is something that we at Ted Baker London believe in and support. At a time of extra pressure for everyone, we think that local businesses should provide what help and support they can to the underprivileged.
Leon Shepherd, Chief Information Officer of Ted Baker London
LabTech is delighted to support the Council’s schools campaign by donating laptops to enable pupils to learn online - in particular, those from disadvantaged backgrounds - to overcome the ‘digital divide’ in our communities. As a partner for the Council’s STEAM 21st Century Talent Pledge, we have also offered work experience opportunities for young people, as well as careers talks, and provided LABS meeting and event spaces to support their learning and development. 

LabTech is keen to offer all young people the best skills and opportunities to enter the borough’s creative, digital and scientific economy and ensure that no children are left behind.
A LabTech spokesperson
We are delighted that we can contribute to the Camden Digital Divide campaign by donating laptops that could mean the difference in passing and not passing an exam for a child who deserves the same access to technology as the next.

It is a brilliant campaign that has reacted to this situation in a practical and valuable way that will make a meaningful difference. As a company we are always on the lookout for opportunities to engage and help our local Camden community.

Thank you also to Camden Council for this great initiative and giving us the opportunity to help young people in these strange times.
Cass Coakley, Senior Communications Executive at Clearcast

The Council is also distributing devices and 4G routers from the Department for Education for students who qualify for the programme, including young people with social workers, looked-after children and disadvantaged students in Year 10.

Schools can also apply for grants of up to £5,000 from the Camden Giving COVID-19 fund for funding for laptops and tablets for their pupils who need them by filling out a short application form here by 1 June 2020.

UPDATE (23/11/20): This campaign has now been replaced by Camden Learning's Crowdfunder to raise money to buy new laptops for Camden pupils. Find out more here.