Vodafone UK is supporting a fundraising effort by Lancaster University to provide more than 350 Unlimited data SIMs to disadvantaged schoolchildren across the Lancaster district.
The connectivity, together with mobile devices and laptops, will be distributed by local schools in Lancaster and Morecambe to pupils aged 11-18, who would otherwise find it difficult to continue their studies during the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
The pandemic has forced schools across the UK to move to online lessons and tutoring. This is difficult for many, but for low-income households, without the devices and connectivity they need, it is particularly challenging.
Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK, said: “The pandemic has impacted everyone in the UK but is hitting the most vulnerable in our society the hardest. We recognise that technology can play a huge part in making peoples’ lives easier; I’m really pleased that our connectivity will enable children across Lancashire to continue to access their education.”
Morecambe Bay Academy Principal Victoria Michael, who is co-ordinating efforts for local schools, said:
“Digital poverty means having no access to online education, due to a lack of device or internet connection in the family home. Educationally, those children who are entitled to free school meals achieve far lower outcomes nationally compared to their peers. This pandemic is widening that gap daily as some children still have access to learning and some do not. This is why connecting kids is so important.
Local businesses and Lancaster University have worked together with school leaders to try and solve this problem quickly. We think this will make a real difference to the families involved and enable the students to stay connected with their schools, and each other.”
This project is part of the Connecting Kids initiative developed by a consortium of providers across Lancaster and Morecambe including Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster & Morecambe College, local schools and businesses and Eden Project International.
- For more on the Connecting Kids programme click here.
Notes to editors
Laptops and devices have been provided by a variety of suppliers as part of the Connecting Kids initiative.