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Technology donations set to support school children in the West Midlands

todayFebruary 7, 2021

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The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is to donate around 150 old laptops and desktop computers to schoolchildren to address digital poverty across the region.

Wowdot, a community interest company started by former Asian Business Chamber of Commerce president Qasim Majid, aims to provide 1,000 families in Birmingham with a computer in the next 12 months through its Connect_In campaign. As well as handing out old computers, the campaign will also provide families with a 12-month internet connection.

The donation comes after the WMCA published its West Midlands Digital Roadmap last week, which identified increasing access to digital opportunities for everyone as a critical opportunity. The authority has partnered with the Good Things Foundation to work together to bridge the digital divide.

The WMCA is the latest large organisation to give its backing to the Connect_In campaign, with Aston Villa FC and the Aston Villa Foundation also pledging to donate their surplus laptops and computer tablets.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “With schools temporarily closed, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how some school children and their families do not have a computer and access to the internet. Given the digital age we live in, this simply isn’t right and something we as a region have to come together to address.”

All old computers donated to the campaign are refurbished and safely recycled by the social enterprise Repc Ltd, before being donated to Birmingham schools to give to their pupils who are most in need of both a computer and internet connection.

Qasim and Andy are also joining forces to urge people across the West Midlands to help the campaign in any way they can. The campaign is most in need of businesses and individuals to donate their old laptops and desktop computers but is also after volunteers to help with social media and deliveries, and financial support. £300 will provide a child with a laptop and a year-long internet connection.

Qasim Majid, who also founded the Connect_In campaign, said: “The closure of schools has been a challenge for all young people. However, those from the most impoverished families suffer considerably due to digital exclusion, social isolation, and a lack of mental stimulation.

National lockdowns have certainly painted a deeply saddening picture of what the future of these young people could potentially look like if we don’t step in to help now.”

To get involved, email cas@wowdot.org or visit www.wow-group.co.uk/wowdot.

Written by: Aaron

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todayFebruary 7, 2021

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