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Closing the Digital Divide

Since the latest announcement of restrictions here in the UK, it has become clear that many young people in our community do not have the tech they need to learn at home.

Many organisations and individuals in our network are working hard to connect schools and local community groups with support from across the region. We’d like to collate some of these groups here, to make it easier for you to help those that need our support the most.

If you have resources to share or would like to appeal for support here, please get in touch and we can help spread the word.

 


 

Supporting & Donating Tech to Our Community

  • Parents at the local Hertford schools in Hollingdean have been in touch with us, as they are asking for direct donations of laptops and mobile phones to their schools. Through campaigning, they have been successful in getting laptops for many of the older children, as well as sim cards with 90-days of data, but are now looking for donations of smartphones for those in the younger years.

    They’re also looking for support in understanding protocols or processes for collecting, processing and distributing devices, so if you have any experience you can support them with - please get in touch with Tor Seacombe (@torseacombe on Twitter or our Slack group) if you can help.
     
  • Donate a Laptop has been recently set up to help connect schools with devices. A quick search in their directory shows many local schools and their exact needs, take a look and see if you can help.
     
  • Business to Schools links businesses and individuals with schools in their area that are accepting donations. Their directory lists many local schools in Brighton and across Sussex. If you do not have any tech to donate, you can also donate funds to support their work. They also accept donations of office furniture and PCs for schools, so do bear that in mind if you are considering giving up your offices in the near future.
     
  • Tech-Takeback started as a small pop-up event in a Brighton cafe where a team of reuse, recycling and data security experts held an event to allow residents to donate their unwanted tech. In just one day, 250kg of disused tech was collected and sorted - with data-bearing items separated for erasure and reuse.

    With education moving online, they've been working with Brighton & Hove City Council to help children from digitally deprived families continue their education from home.

    Learn more here and get in touch with them to see how they may be able to help.
     

  • Level Up Laptops is a campaign to help children in this situation living in Brighton and Sussex by providing them with laptops and tablets that will support remote learning and longer-term educational needs.

    SoPro has teamed up with registered charity Tarner Community Project and KLYK, to form partnerships between Sussex businesses, aiming to recycle old devices no longer in use or raise money for new devices, and distribute them to children in need. Learn more here.

Requesting Support

If you’re working on behalf of a school that needs support, there are government schemes which may be able to help:

Resources for parents:

  • Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom (and other learning tools) can be accessed on alternative devices (Xbox, Playstations, Smart TVs) which may be useful in some households, especially those with multiple students needing access to online resources. 
     
  • Customers using BT Mobile, EE, and Plusnet Mobile to access BBC Bitesize content will be able to do so from the end of January without eating into their data allowance. Content from other providers is likely to be made free in the coming days.
     

How else can I get involved?

  • If you’d like to learn more about these issues and get involved with wider projects, the Trust for Developing Communities are a charity tackling inequality in Brighton and Hove through community-led solutions. They deliver community development work, youth work, research and training. Take a look at their website for more info.
     
  • Tech for Good care about how digital tech can help create positive social impact, they work with NetSquared, Citizens Online, Clearleft and BH Community Works to connect the tech sector in Brighton and Hove.

    Read more about their work here
    If you’d like to get involved, you can join their meetup space or join them on their Slack workspace.
     

Thanks to everyone that has offered information about local resources and initiatives, we aim to keep this post updated regularly. If you have resources to share or would like to appeal for support here, please get in touch and we can help spread the word.

About the author

Anna Bagley

Hi, I'm Wired Sussex's Digital Marketing Assistant, I help to promote our range of services to support our members and the local digital sector, as well as helping to create inspiring events for the community.

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