Council helps Wandsworth students switch on with laptop scheme

Published: Friday, May 22, 2020

A Wandsworth Council drive to connect children with their teachers during COVID-19 is given a boost as hundreds of refurbished laptops are being delivered to local families, including many donated from the town hall.

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Online help: Cllr Sweet with Maisie at St George's primary school

To ensure that local children get access to school classes online, Wandsworth Council has teamed up with Battersea Power Station to collect and deliver hundreds of laptops to students around the borough, with more to come each week.

This week Councillor Will Sweet dropped off the latest batch of 34 used council laptops to a team of volunteers cleaning up computers as part of the joint Power to Connect campaign based in Battersea.

This delivery was in addition to laptops which have already gone out to the borough’s most vulnerable children and 800 laptops being donated by central government for Year 10 students in need of support.

Making a real difference

Councillor Will Sweet, Wandsworth Council’s Education and Children’s Services spokesman said: “It’s crucial that children aren’t left behind in their class during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why we are pulling out all the stops to ensure that families get all-round digital access to education resources. As well as donating our own laptops, the council is also funding additional SIMcards and wi-fi dongles so children can plug straight into their online learning.

“I was delighted to see the work that the volunteers are doing as part of the Power to Connect campaign run by Battersea Power Station and the council. I’ve seen how these laptops make a real difference to families at this time, so I urge local residents and businesses to help us top 1,000 laptops.”

Following the council’s latest donations, boxes of laptops were then delivered to St Anne’s CE Primary School in Wandsworth and Tooting’s Franciscan Primary School and Smallwood Primary School.

To equip children with a complete online package, the council is also funding hundreds of wifi dongles which will help the whole family access key learning resources. This follows a £10,000 donation from Battersea Power Station Foundation which funded over 250 data vouchers handed out to local schools and families by Wandsworth Council.

'Keeping up with schoolwork'

Just days earlier, Battersea Power Station and Wandsworth Council were pleased to announce that over 100 laptops and tablets had been donated by local residents and businesses to the Power to Connect campaign since it launched on 17 April 2020.

Sarah Banham, Head of Communities and Sustainability at Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said: “Following the successful launch of the Power to Connect campaign last month, we are delighted that it has gained real momentum with over 100 donated laptops and tablets already having been refurbished and distributed to local families who are most in need of ensuring children are keeping up with schoolwork and staying connected. Having spoken to various local community groups on the ground, this campaign provides a real lifeline for many and we are inspired by the tangible difference which is already being made.

"Following on from this generous donation by Wandsworth Council, we hope to receive more old, working laptops that can be given a new lease of life and help others in the local community maintain connectivity and access knowledge.”

Volunteers with a background in IT are wiping and refurbishing the laptops before they are distributed by transport volunteers from the Power to Connect campaign and the Dons Local Action Group.

The campaign’s key aim is to help combat digital poverty and support the local community of Wandsworth to keep digitally connected during the outbreak.

To support the Power to Connect campaign through computer or tablet donations, by volunteering IT expertise or your time to collect and drop off the refurbished Chromebooks, or by making a donation to the data top-up voucher fund, further information on how to get involved can be found at https://www.powertoconnect.co.uk/

Find help for local residents and businesses from Wandsworth Council at https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow @wandbc

For further information on Battersea Power Station, please visit https://batterseapowerstation.co.uk/ and follow @BatterseaPwrStn to keep up to date with the latest news and events

Learning: Laptops for St George's pupils