Local news platform InYourArea has united regional titles to launch a £1.2m drive to purchase internet dongles for households in the North of England.
The Cash for Connectivity campaign appeared on front pages from the Manchester Evening News to the Northern Echo today (Thursday) urging readers to dig deep to provide free internet to 100,000 disadvantaged households and children currently being denied their basic right to education.
Ten per cent of children across the North East, North West and Yorkshire do not have access to a laptop, tablet or desktop computer, compared to 7% in the South West, research by Reach Data has shown.
Rival publishers Reach plc, Newsquest and JPIMedia North West have joined together for the appeal to fund the purchase of dongles – inexpensive hardware – to connect laptops and household devices to the internet.
Titles including the Liverpool Echo, Bolton News and Lancashire Post are working with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Laptops for Kids, supported by local politicians and businesses.
The launch comes after leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer challenged the Prime Minister on Wednesday over the 400,000 children who still cannot get online at home.
“The Government has got a duty to ensure that every single child can learn from home. Without access to a laptop, computer or the internet that can’t happen,” the Labour leader told the Commons. Boris Johnson said the government had provided 1.3million laptops.
Editor-in-chief of InYourArea and Reach’s audience and content director for its regional titles, Ed Walker, thanked all of the editors and journalists for uniting behind the campaign and for their hard work in getting it ready to launch.
“It’s an ambitious target and we’ve already seen some very generous donations from readers across the North,” Walker told the Society of Editors.
“When it’s issues like our children’s future, then it’s been heartening to see fellow editors and journalists in the North of England put rivalries aside to join together in support of Cash for Connectivity.
“Days like today always help to remind me of why I am proud to be an editor, and a journalist, and work in this industry. We have the capacity to do an awful lot of good as well as tell people what’s happening in their communities.”
To find out more about the campaign and to donate, please visit: https://uk.gofundme.com/c/act/cash-for-connectivity