Over 3,00 laptops have been provided to disadvantaged children and young people in Surrey during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Department for Education (DfE) scheme allowed for children and young people to receive laptops and internet access from government to help them keep on top of their work during lockdown. The criteria for receiving a device was that the child or young person had a social worker or was a care leaver.
Surrey County Council received an initial allocation of 1,809 laptops. These laptops were pre-loaded with web-filtering software but required further configuration to be ready for use.
With the help of Deputy Cabinet Member Mark Nuti, a group of volunteers from the local community were provided to assist with the configuration. Together they managed to configure all 1,809 laptops within four days.
The quick turnaround delighted many of the recipients, some of whom had never been presented with a brand new device like this before.
Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to assist so many of our disadvantaged young people during this very challenging time.
“Having access to these laptops means these young people can still access materials and services that otherwise would have been lost to them. To see their happiness at receiving these laptops was truly heart-warming.
“None of this would have been possible were it not for the work of our brilliant volunteers. We were all astonished at the progress they made in such a short period of time. They were clearly spurred on by the purpose of the work they were doing, determined to provide help for those who need it most. They should be proud of their contribution.”
Surrey County Council has since made a successful business case to the DfE for an additional 1,560 laptops, to help further meet the needs of disadvantaged young people in the county. This would take the total number of laptops provided up to 3,369. The additional laptops arrive this week, with volunteers from the community ready once more to get the devices configured and ready for use.