During lockdown there are many children who are missing out on lessons because they don’t have access to a computer to use for remote learning. Cllr Ron Mushiso has arranged a collection point outside Christ Church on Turnham Green where you can drop off an old, unused laptop or tablet so it can be wiped and reused by a child who needs it.
Cllr Mushiso is a former coach at Richmond Rugby Club. He heard they had organised a drop-off point at the rugby ground and made an arrangement with a reputable company to wipe old laptops and tablets and make them available to children in Richmond. Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran is also a member of the Club and they got together to extend the arrangement to children in LB Hounslow.
“There is a shortfall of laptops for school children across the borough, including Chiswick” says Ron. “I am calling on the generous and community spirited residents of Chiswick to come to their aid”.
Starting Saturday 23 January, every Saturday there will be someone outside the front gates of Christ Church on Town Hall Avenue W4 5DT from 10.00 – 12.00, to receive second hand laptops and tablets.
A senior member of Richmond Rugby club be on hand on Saturday 23 January alongside Cllr Mushiso and Cllr Gerald McGregor to help operate a ‘tried and tested drive-through service that adhere to the current Covid19 measurements. You will be asked to remain in your car when dropping off tech. If arrive by bike or foot, there will be a drop off box near the entrance’.
They need working laptops or tablets, with the relevant power cables. The club does not require old mobile phones, kindles, desktop PCs etc.
The laptops/tablets will then be professionally wiped clean and reloaded with updated software thanks to Veritas Digital Services and then donated to local schools for distribution to children throughout our community.
If you don’t posses an old device but you would like to support the cause, then please click here to donate towards the costs of the processing.
Image above: Laptop pick up point at Richmond Rugby Club
Hounslow has 700 ‘digitally excluded’ children
In normal times not having access to a computer at home is a severe handicap to a child’s education, but during the lockdown it means they are completely excluded.
Cllr Mushiso told The Chiswick Calendar:
‘Although Hounslow Council have recently announced a further 750 laptops and 150 internet connections to children learning from home in the Borough during lockdown, that still leaves the Borough short by around 700 devices’.
During the pandemic, the council has been distributing devices supplied by the Department for Education, but they say there is still a shortfall of equipment both locally and nationally. The council has committed to providing 750 laptops, in addition to the laptops already distributed, to help address the shortfall.
“We also know that connectivity is a problem for some families in the borough” said Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, “so we are purchasing 150 internet dongles that will provide unlimited access for a year”.
“No child or family should be left behind because of a lack of equipment” he said. “We will continue to look at ways to make sure this urgent need is met and that has to include a firmer commitment from central government that every child will get the equipment they need to learn from home.
“I want to pay a special tribute to the tremendous efforts of local organisations for their work supplying laptops to schoolchildren, and members of the public who have been donating equipment”.
Head Teacher of Chiswick School, Laura Ellener, gave a a presentation at the Chiswick Area Forum recently about how the school had coped during the pandemic. She said teachers had driven around Hounslow delivering equipment and food boxes to over 300 of their students. At Chiswick School around 330 pupils are entitled to free school meals, as 40% are considered officially to be ‘disadvantaged’.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
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