Chichester-based charity providing free laptops for pupils sees huge demand amid new lockdown

A charity which gets businesses and individuals to donate unwanted laptops and other equipment to schools has seen a rise in demand amid the new lockdown.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 4:51 pm
Lindsey Parslow, Chief Executive of Business2Schools

Business2Schools first launched its Laptops2Schools initiative last March, with the aim of ensuring that all children being taught at home while schools were shut were able to use a computer.

Since then, the charity has been featured in the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign as one of the organisations helping address the digital divide.

Amid the new lockdown, hundreds more schools have signed up and more businesses have come forward to offer their support.

Chief executive Lindsey Parslow said: “Going into another lockdown, children are already too far behind and need to catch up.

“If we can get every child in the country online, they are going to catch up much quicker.”

As well as the educational side, there was an important mental health and wellbeing aspect too, she said.

“If children can’t join their online classroom where they can see their friends, they will be left out,” she said. “That’s not healthy for children.

“They’re at home, they can’t see their friends.”

The charity has been ‘really successful’ in West Sussex, with around 120 schools signed up to the platform. “We’ve helped out most of the schools in Chichester,” said Lindsey.

The initiative helps encourage sustainability and a circular economy.

While schools upgrade their computers every 10 years on average, individuals and businesses upgrade every three to five years, Lindsey said.

The charity allows people or businesses with spare equipment – whether technology or furniture – to choose a local school of their choice to donate to.

With more than 1300 schools now signed up, she urged people to keep giving. “Everyone has something in a cupboard somewhere,” she said.

To donate an item or sign up your school, visit www.business2schools.com