Lockdown has been difficult for everyone in some way. For many children, the shift to homeschooling and online learning has been their biggest challenge.
This shift has led to a big problem for a lot of young students: a lack of access to a computer or tablet to keep up with their studies. More fortunate households have been able to adapt to homeschooling by making sure each child has access to their own device. Unfortunately some families have been left to make due, sharing devices between multiple children who often have overlapping schedules.
Speaking to Samuel Drake, the Head Teacher at Beckford Primary School, he explained "I've heard in some cases parents have even had to give up their own laptops that they use for work. Some parents have said that they have to do their daily work after 4 o'clock. They normally work 9 to 5, but they have to start work when their child is done because they've had to give them their laptop to use."
Schools have done their best to adapt and provide their students with enough devices. Shelley Dunbar, the School Business Manager at Kingsgate Primary School, says "In the previous lockdown we were providing one device per family, but that wasn't enough because some families have 3, 4, or even 5 children who all had to share." With generous support Kingsgate has been able to get their numbers to one device per 2 students.
But many schools across the UK just don't have the resources and are still desperate for donations. Even for schools like Kingsgate, they find that they're never finished.
"We thought we'd sorted it...but their own laptops or iPads may have broken so every day we're giving out more and more, and this is probably going to go on while the schools are closed" says Shelley.
To help this problem that has significant and lasting implications in this generation's education and future learning, property agent and consultant Stephen Brown has stepped up to the plate.
Brown has created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to help buy computers for students in need across the UK. He's been passionately campaigning since January.
"The way it works is that an estate agency who knows of a school in need in their area gets in contact with us, and we purchase and send them two devices. This way we're able to reach as many schools as we can that need our help. These are schools in need that we might not find out about otherwise, or who might not know about what we're doing."
"Each device costs about £150. Our original fundraising goal was £55k, but that's only about 360 devices. There are so many more children in need, so I think we can do better. Our new goal of £200k. If you can do anything to help - £5, £10 - anything, it adds up and truly makes a difference."
With Brown's kind support, Paramount was able to donate two laptops to Kingsgate Primary School, who said they were still in need of 9 devices.
Paramount also personally donated two tablets to our local Beckford Primary School. I spoke with their Head Teacher, Sam, about how the need for devices affects them:
If you would like to donate to Stephen Brown's amazing fundraiser to help children in need across the UK, you can do so on his GoFundMe page here.