£1,000 donation to help children access online education and tackle digital divide

A total of £1,000 has been donated to a project which aims to tackle the digital divide among schoolchildren across Wolverhampton.

Pat McFadden MP, Kallum Wright, head of film department at LearnPlay Foundation Ltd, with The Midcounties Co-operative's Councillor Olivia Birch and Marnie Richards and the £1000 cheque for Wolves Tech Aid.
Pat McFadden MP, Kallum Wright, head of film department at LearnPlay Foundation Ltd, with The Midcounties Co-operative's Councillor Olivia Birch and Marnie Richards and the £1000 cheque for Wolves Tech Aid.

Wolves Tech Aid received the funding from The Midcounties Co-op with the money used to refurbishing donated computer equipment.

It was launched by Pat McFadden MP and partners across the city to ensure children don't miss out as education becomes more digital.

The move comes after concerns pupils were struggling to access online education when schools were closed due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, said: "A huge thank you to The Midcounties Co-operative for their fantastic donation to Wolves Tech Aid.

"We have been greatly encouraged by the support for Wolves Tech Aid since its launch a few weeks ago.

"This money will be used to help challenge the digital divide among schoolchildren and is all part of the effort to ensure that as education becomes more digital it doesn’t also become more unequal."

During the pandemic the Department for Education and Wolverhampton Council have provided laptops for youngsters in the city – but some schools say children have been trying to do lessons through parents’ mobile phones due to not having access to the right equipment.

The project already has the support of Wolverhampton Council, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, the Wolves FC Foundation and the LearnPlay Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation.

Ro Hands, managing director and legal counsel of LearnPlay Foundation, said: "Sincere thanks to The Midcounties Co-operative for their support and very generous donation.

"We are very grateful that they have recognised the urgency and plight faced by so many young people in the city.

"The funds will help us re-purpose up to 50 machines that will make help make a significant impact towards learning and catch-up learning."

Marnie Richards, developing young people co-ordinator for The Midcounties Co-operative, said: "We are very proud to support our local communities and provide a donation to the Wolves Tech Aid.

"In a challenging year for all, we know it will be greatly appreciated by the children, who can now surf the web and improve their learning experience."

Councillor Olivia Birch, a director for The Midcounties Co-operative, added: "I’m proud that The Midcounties Co-operative has financially supported Wolves Tech Aid. Computers are becoming essential for today’s school children and this initiative is going to have a positive impact on children’s online learning."

Wolves Tech Aid has called on people and businesses to donate any unwanted tablets, desktop machines and laptops – with chargers if possible – of any age.

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