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Your unwanted computers can help with home learning

Two companies in our area have teamed up to help parents get the equipment needed for their children’s home learning during the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

Ark ICT of Pinchbeck and Simply Magazines of West Pinchbeck joined forces
after news that around nine per cent of children in the UK do not have access to a computer in the home.

The idea of the ‘Clear Out to Help Out’ scheme is that residents and businesses donate unwanted equipment for families who do not have the technology, or sponsor internet access.

A mum home schooling on a laptop with her son.
A mum home schooling on a laptop with her son.

Phil Callow of Ark and Hayley Hammond of Simply Magazines both understand how difficult the challenge is to be at home, working, caring and home schooling as they both have school aged children.

Hayley approached IT education specialist Phil with the idea to work with local businesses and residents to use redundant equipment and distribute to the families that have a need for home schooling.

Hayley said: “There are some great examples of neighbours printing work etc but it really will be a huge disadvantage to children if they aren’t all on a level playing field in terms of accessing the online teaching.”

This is where the idea for ‘Clear Out to Help Out’ was born. It is a simple process where residents and businesses offer unwanted equipment.

Ark ICT will remove all data from the previous owner and restore to factory settings, before uploading the required programs for home learning.

There is a huge demand for laptops and printers, so if you are able to donate, pleasecall 01775 828540 or drop off to Ark ICT, Unit 6 Venture Court, Pinchbeck PE11 3BG (opposite TC Harrison Ford) during office hours.

If you are a larger business with several items to donate then please call to arrange delivery or collection.

Any equipment not suitable will pass through their recycling program, again wiping all historic data.

The other difficulty families are experiencing is simply accessing the internet. Many homes do not have broadband and rely on 4G through their mobile phone, but in just a couple of days two live lessons on Microsoft teams could use around 30GB of data – more than most people would use in a month!

There is also the opportunity to ‘sponsor a family’ to provide them with internet access while children are required to be taught in the home.

Phil has managed to agree a deal with GiffGaff to provide the service for short periods with no tie in, using the 4G network.If you would like to sponsor a family please contact info@arkict.me.uk

Phil said: “We already run a scheme at Ark ICT to furnish a number of Year 6 students with laptops when they embark on secondary school life.We work with schools to find families that may be struggling, where the children would otherwise never have access to the technology.”

There are several options for sponsorship for internet access and this is open not only to businesses but if individuals are willing to sponsor a family it will all be a huge help to local children:

1 family for 1 month: £40

2 families x 1 month: £80

1 family x 3 months: £120

2 families x 2 months: £160

2 families x 3 months: £240

5 families x 3 months: £600

Once the laptops and printers have been cleaned and the required programs installed, a ‘stock list’ will be available for all schools across South Lincolnshire to access.

If you need help with equipment at home or you are struggling to access the internet, contact your child’s school. If equipment is available, the running costs for printers will have to be met by the recipient the families.

Clear Out to Help Out is planned to run as long as home schooling is required but the sooner equipment can get to families the sooner it will be making a difference.

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