Livery Schools Link launches campaign to tackle digital disadvantage

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Livery Schools Link has launched a fundraising campaign to help buy devices and connections for the most disadvantaged students in schools who are suffering device poverty.

Working in partnership with Livery Companies, Guilds and schools, the campaign is not just a response to help for the time of Covid-19.

David Barker, an internet and social entrepreneur and one of the Livery Schools Link Trustees, said: “The issue of device poverty has existed for a long time and Covid-19 has simply shone a light and shown the world the scale of the issue and its impact on the future education of the disadvantaged and vulnerable. 

“Our campaign is to help those students we can while long-term permanent solutions are identified and implemented.”

The campaign has already attracted £15,450 in donations from five Livery Companies – The Bakers, Barbers, Builders Merchants, Carmen and Insurers.

Donations have already been allocated to the first three schools – Notre Dame RC Girls’ School, La Retraite RC Girls’ School and Hampstead School.

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Teresa Crowley, careers leader at Notre Dame RC Girls’ School, said: “We have been able to provide 26 laptops and 8 dongles with prepayment for students. Education is a ladder to success for many students and this enables them to continue with their school work and give them a better foundation for the future.”

Ruth Coyle, director of learning at La Retraite RC Girls’ School, added: “We have been able to provide 27 students with laptops, so they are able to access their education. These donations will change the children’s lives and open up opportunities for their future.”

Maureen Marden, one of the Livery Schools Link trustees who has also championed the campaign, is clear that a transparent and accountable structure is important.

She said: “We are agreed that our grant to schools will be limited to £5.000 to help provide connections/devices to the most disadvantaged students.

“Funds will be granted against a proposal from the school to the trustees. We have agreed a series of simple points of accountability and outcomes.”

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