An appeal has been launched for businesses and other employers in West Leeds to donate unused laptops and tech to young people not able to access technology at home.
The campaign to find Leeds Tech Angels is being led by a recently established group, Digital Access West Yorkshire, which says the digital divide has been exacerbated by coronavirus with many school children lacking the means to join online lessons.
With Leeds now under Tier 3 restrictions and thousands of pupils likely to be self-isolating in the months ahead, there is an urgent need for those from more challenging social backgrounds to be properly equipped to learn remotely.
Ben McKenna, Chief Executive of social enterprise Solidaritech and a founder of Digital Access West Yorkshire, has issued a plea for local businesses to invest in the future of young people by signing up as Leeds Tech Angels.
One of the drop-off points is at Armley Helping Hands on Strawberry Lane. He said:
“There are far too many digitally-excluded children and young people in Leeds, and we want to work with businesses and other organisations to help them.
“Laptops are at the top of our wanted list, but tablets and smart phones would also be useful.
“Unused machines can be deposited at several secure locations around the city or we can collect them. Each item will be fully wiped and reset to its original factory settings by an IT specialist. No personal data will remain on any devices distributed to recipients.
“2020 been difficult for all young people but particularly those without access to technology in their homes. Sadly, the likelihood of future periods out of school is high.
“I urge businesses with unused or wanted hardware to answer the call to become proud Leeds Tech Angels. Donations of personal equipment are also welcome”
Leeds-based social enterprise Ahead Partnership will be working with their network of corporate partners – which fund and support activities that boost young people’s career aspirations – to donate their tech to the scheme.
Digital Access West Yorkshire has been supported with funding from Leeds Community Foundation and support from Ahead Partnership, Leeds City Council and Zero Waste Leeds.
More information about Leeds Tech Angels including how to donate tech kit can be found at tech-angels.net.