A Daily Mail campaign aimed at dramatically boosting the supply of laptops to schools struck by the digital divide has raised £750,000 in the first three days of its appeal.
Up to a million schoolchildren are struggling to learn online during the Covid-19 lockdown and as a result, the Computers for Kids initiative has urged those from big corporates to Mail readers to help it deliver computers to kids in need.
The paper today (Tuesday) announced it had reached the milestone with £375,000 donated by readers on top of a £125,000 from insurance giant Direct Line and £250,000 from technology firm Peak Scientific.
In a two-pronged approach, the Mail is collecting old laptops from companies and using donations from readers to refurbish the kit to meet the specifications required by the Department for Education, which is working alongside the Mail to provide the devices to the schools.
In addition to adding many thousands of computers into the supply chain, the Mail will be working to combat data poverty and be calling on the telecoms giants to end the high charges for data, which are leaving families financially crippled.
Funds raised by the Daily Mail’s ‘Computers for Kids’ campaign will be donated to the MailForce charity, which last year delivered more than 42 million pieces of PPE to support the NHS and other healthcare workers as the country faced a PPE crisis.
Geordie Greig, Editor of the Daily Mail, said: “This Daily Mail campaign aims to help end the digital divide in Britain. It is shocking that more than a million children do not have access to a laptop. We want to try to make a difference in the same way that our last MailForce campaign did.
“Our readers showed incredible generosity then and I hope they will get behind this campaign, as we help accelerate the process of getting computers to children in need.”
The Daily Mail’s campaign has been hailed by England rugby star Maro Itoje, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, all the main teaching unions, and the Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “We know how difficult this past year has been for young people who have had their education disrupted by the pandemic, which is why we’ve provided laptops and tablets at such speed and scale to those who need them the most.
“The Daily Mail’s support in building on the aid provided by government can only be a good thing and I welcome the undoubted generous response of Mail readers, ensuring even more young people can benefit from a device for both home education and into the future.”
Find out more about the campaign here.