Vodafone and West Everton Community Council (WECC) today launched a pilot to provide laptops and connectivity to families under financial pressure in the Everton area so they can access their education and keep connected during the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
If successful, the six-month pilot may be extended.
The pandemic has forced schools across the UK to move to online lessons and tutoring. This is challenging for many, but for low-income households – without the devices and connectivity they need – it is particularly difficult.
The Better Connected programme will provide connectivity – via mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and Unlimited data SIM cards – to 250 families.
The connectivity can be used across multiple devices, enabling the whole family to access schoolwork and the internet. It will also help them stay connected with friends and family during this challenging time. In addition to providing the connectivity, Vodafone has donated 20 laptops to WECC to loan out to the families.
The pilot will be led by Cllr Jane Corbett, Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor for Fairness and Tackling Poverty, and be managed by a steering group made up of representatives from WECC, Daisy Inclusive UK, Citizen’s Advice Liverpool, Action for Children and Liverpool City Council. Its objective is to support low-income families with one or more children under 12 in the Everton area of Liverpool.
Cllr Jane Corbett said: “Even before lockdown, many families were struggling to meet basic needs such as food, fuel and household internet. Once schools closed, there was an urgent need to ensure every child could continue to access their education.
“Together, with trusted partners such as Vodafone, we can help make this happen and so build a fairer future for all our children.”
Adam Byrne, Chair of WECC, said: “We’re really excited about working with Vodafone on this pilot project and very grateful for their generosity. Digital access is a basic need and our families here cannot afford to be disconnected from their schoolwork, their extended families and the wider community. This project will help make sure we’re all ‘better connected’.”
Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK, said: “The pandemic has impacted everyone in the UK, but has had a particularly devastating effect on children from low income families.
“Technology can play a crucial role in improving the lives of families under financial pressure, helping them to stay connected and access education so that they don’t get left behind. I am so pleased that this pilot will go some way to help those in need in the Everton community.”
For more information, please contact:
Vodafone UK Media Relations Team
Tel: 01635 693693
Notes to editors
Liverpool is the fourth most deprived Local Authority in England for IDACI (the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index from the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015*). Everton is the most deprived ward in Liverpool (Indices of Multiple of Deprivation 2019*).
* Data provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.