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Elmbridge Lib Dem Laptop Appeal provides home-learning support for over 30 local families

As families and school children take a well-earned break from homeschooling for half term, it’s time to reflect on the amazing response of Elmbridge residents in recent weeks to the Elmbridge Liberal Democrats Laptop appeal. Thanks to our community’s generosity, 33 laptops have so far been provided to four of the Borough’s schools to help with home learning.

Through a combination of reconditioned laptops donated by local families and over £5000 raised directly by the appeal, families at two local secondary schools and two local primaries are benefiting from much-needed support for their children’s home learning. 

To date, the appeal has provided 10 laptops to Hinchley Wood Secondary School and 13 laptops to Esher High School. Last week, 10 further devices were delivered to Long Ditton St Mary’s Primary and Claygate Primary.

The financial donations and offers of used laptops continue to flood in and the appeal team are ready to help more local schools in Elmbridge should further needs be identified. A total of £5385 (as at 3rd February) has been donated to the Appeal by local residents and the campaign is still open for more. 

With at least another fortnight of homeschooling to come after half-term, the Appeal is having a direct impact on families in our community who would otherwise be struggling to support their children at home. It is estimated that  9% of children in the UK – between 1.1 million and 1.8 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. 

Andy King, Deputy Head Teacher at Esher High School, thanked the campaign and all those who have donated money or devices: 

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the laptop donations. It was amazing to receive and they are being put to great use with families.”

While Ben Bartlett, Head Teacher at Hinchley Wood School commented on the real difference the campaign has made to some of the most vulnerable learners in our local community:

“In providing such frontline support you are making a real difference to the everyday lives of some of the most vulnerable learners in our local community – thank you!”

Jez Langham, a campaigner for Elmbridge Liberal Democrats said:

 “We have been overwhelmed by the support of local people and local businesses to this appeal.  We have had pledges of computers and generous financial donations. This will give access to learning for kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the hardware to do so at home during this lockdown.”

“It’s been an amazing response so far, but we know we can do more……  So, if you or your business have laptops, or wish to donate to the campaign, please do get in touch.”  

The cost of a brand new, relevant specification machine is around £500 but the Appeal team has secured a limited number of refurbished units for £300 each. Contact has been made directly with local schools and, where a need was identified, the team has worked with them to provide the most appropriate refurbished or reconditioned devices.

The one bright spot of this dreadful pandemic is the way communities keep pulling together to support each other”, said Monica Harding, the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary spokesperson. 

“This time the good people of Elmbridge are providing laptops to local children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access learning.  I’m so proud to be part of this amazing community – this will make a massive difference to some of our young people and their life chances.

Monica Harding, the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary spokesperson.

If you can donate an old laptop, or if you would like to donate money towards the campaign to buy either refurbished or new laptops, please see: https://action.elmbridgelibdems.org.uk/laptop_appeal for more information. Financial help is particularly useful to Primary Schools as they can buy machines via their technology partner that can help them both short-term for children at home but also long-term when children return to the classroom. All donations from this campaign will go directly to buying laptops for school children.