More than 200 laptops are to be sent to deprived households in Hackney and Islington to fix the digital divide.
The Hackney and Islington branch of the Citizens UK community organisation group are seeking to bridge the digital divide in their boroughs and aim to help households in need through charity.
Having collected 202 used laptops, the group intends to donate them to households with students having difficulty with online learning, home-schooled children, as well as elderly residents living in increased isolation due to the pandemic restrictions.
“Digital Poverty is something that is often hidden,” Froi Legaspi, community organiser for Hackney & Islington Citizens, told ELL. “Post-pandemic, digital-first approaches to finding work, training & education and access to services will increase the gap with people being left behind.”
Legaspi added: “At the moment, more research is needed on the digital divide and its effects on people and their families. Most organisations using child poverty as a proxy indicator. A lack of access to appropriate devices and reliable, affordable internet will need to be addressed by policymakers into the future. More research is needed into what is needed by households and families and the depth of that need in our communities.”
The group’s goal to bridge the digital divide in the boroughs has been made more easily achievable by a donation of used laptops and £20,000 from Amazon. Citizens UK told ELL that they don’t exactly know how this money will be used yet.
“Our member organisations have been able to fundraise over £100,000 in cash and contributions,” said Legaspi. “The £20,000 donation from Amazon has been a welcomed relief for local families disconnected from loved ones, support networks and schools.”
“Many of our students have found the last few months really tough,” said Anthony Harmer, a member of Hackney and Islington Citizens. “We’ve worked hard to ensure student access to laptops and the internet, keeping education attainment high.”
Legaspi added: “We are just one of a number of efforts on digital inclusion, including local authorities, mutual aid groups, schools and local charities. Each household and family connected has a transformational effect. In this pandemic and lockdown, connection offers hope.”
Enquiries about donations to the group can be asked at firstname.lastname@example.org.