Posted: 12.01.21 at 09:05 by Philippa Davies
The response to an appeal for unwanted laptops to help Sidmouth children learn at home has been described as ‘breathtaking’.
Sidmouth C of E Primary School made the appeal at the end of last week after finding that around 55 of its pupils didn’t have the devices they needed to access educational online content and videos, while the school is closed because of Covid.
In other households, children were sharing a single device and while the families were coping, they would benefit from extra equipment.
The school has been allocated 35 devices by the Department for Education, but these will not be ordered until January 15.
But the Sidmouth community has stepped up, with offers of laptops and money.
Head teacher Claire Fegan said: “A lovely member of the local community called on Thursday to ask if she could donate a device she no longer uses.
“We were able to reset it to factory settings and set it up ready for a child to use.
“It gave us the idea of approaching the local community to see if anyone else could offer anything.
“Within hours, we had received phone calls and messages offering all sorts of devices - people seemed to grab the opportunity to do something positive and constructive at the moment.
“Communities really coming together seems to be one of the few silver linings of this whole dreadful situation.
“As of this morning, it's looking like we have gained about 20 devices, which is amazing.
“In addition to devices, we've been fortunate enough to receive fundraising donations from people offering money for us to buy devices.
“Lois Swarbrick, a member of the local community, has been busy making face masks which raised an incredible £1000 for us to buy brand new devices, which are already out with families making a difference.
“Another local couple called to donate £500. We've also had kind messages from IT specialists, offering to support to erase devices and set them up with the software needed.
“It has been a tough week for schools, but to feel so supported by the local community and the kindness of strangers has been quite breathtaking.
“It is great to see the reactions of parents when we tell them and knowing the difference it will make to our children.”
Anyone who would like to donate a laptop is asked to contact the school by emailing [email protected] or phoning 01395 514146.