Manufacturer of intelligent locker systems, iLockerz Ltd, has pledged its support to an initiative from community interest company, Wowdot CIC, which aims to provide thousands of laptops and connectivity to families across the region.
In March 2020, 34% of the UK population suffered loss of connectivity and whilst the Department for Education announced a £400m laptop roll-out scheme the following month, recent surveys indicate that the 876,013 devices delivered so far has still left up to 1.8 million children without access to a laptop, desktop or tablet.
The move to back the initiative came as Ryan Slaney, Managing Director of iLockerz, realised a common goal between the companies which both seek to make digital devices more accessible. Slaney says: “iLockerz has always aimed to make it easier for people to access the tech that allows them to carry out their duties effectively. This is perhaps why our relationships with education providers have grown over recent years.
“However, whilst our lockers have played a part in schools, colleges and universities being able to loan laptops to students, it has become clear that much more needs to be done to ensure widespread availability of devices – particularly in the poorer parts of our region.
“When I learned about the Connect_In campaign from Wowdot, I was keen to get involved and offer the full backing of iLockerz. We are therefore urging all our customers to donate any PCs or laptops they no longer need so they can benefit those in education who desperately need the technology.”
The Connect_In campaign was launched by Cas Majid, CEO of Wow Group of Companies and Founder Wowdot CIC, to help bridge the gap of device availability amongst society’s poorer families. Having partnered with a consortium of Midlands-based organisations, Wowdot is calling on other local businesses to help reach its goal of providing devices to 1,000 children and families in Birmingham; a figure which may be set to rise in the coming months.
Cas comments: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the lack of connectivity across the UK and, whilst home-schooling may not be a permanent arrangement, learning through the use of technology will continue long after children return to school.
“We must all pull together to ensure that no child is being deprived of an opportunity to fulfil their potential, and with the help of businesses like iLockerz, we will help families who can’t afford electronic devices to secure a brighter future.”
Ryan Slaney adds: “Eradicating digital poverty should be a priority for us all and we need to act now if kids are going to have access to the tools necessary for their educational development.”
As 20,000 young people in schools across Birmingham are still feeling the impact of digital poverty, The Digital Education Partnership has also been launched and, along with the Connect_In campaign, is backed by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce; reinforcing the message that a joint effort is needed to help those families currently being excluded from education during lockdown.
Businesses and individuals can ‘help tackle the digital divide for good’ by donating unwanted PCs and laptops to Wowdot CIC. Devices can be dropped off at iLockerz in Rowley Regis, directly at the Wowdot office or at Millennium Point in Birmingham. Data will be wiped from all donated items, with official certificates issued by established computer re-purposing company and Wowdot partner, REPC Ltd, before being distributed to schools across the Midlands.
Monetary contributions can also be made via the campaign’s dedicated Gofundme page, with all funds going towards the provision of 12 months internet connection and a reconditioned PC or laptop.
Find out more about iLockerz Ltd on their member profile page here