Two Schemes To Close The Digital Divide

'Keep Kids Connected' and 'Power To Connect' continue to help in Putney and beyond

MP Fleur Anderson delivering devices to Granard School


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Technology offers a world of opportunities. With a digital device, you can do pretty much anything - code a complex multiplayer game, do your food shopping, catch up with your friends and even keep up with your school work.

But what happens if you don’t have a laptop or tablet, or access to the internet? And all your learning is online because your school is closed? Whilst others keep learning, you are left behind.

That is why Dons Local Action Group set up Keep Kids Connected. They want to provide kids with the technology that will enable them to learn and to keep in touch with their friends and family, now and long after the effects of the pandemic have passed.

Power to Connect is a joint initiative between Battersea Power Station and Wandsworth Council that facilitates the distribution of laptops and tablets to school children in the Borough who don't have access to the essential technology needed for homeschooling. All devices will be cleaned and wiped of all data by the IT team and turned into a Chromebook before being delivered to schools. The schools distribute these to pupils who are most in need of devices, predominantly those who qualify for free school meals, of which there are over 6000 in the Borough.
They have been successful in collecting 200 devices so far, but desperately need more laptops and tablets.

Since the end of April, Keep Kids Connected have nearly 400 laptops and tablets to kids who didn’t have access to these devices, including a number of schools in Putney. “Through this scheme, five families received laptops who previously were only able to access their home learning on a smartphone,” confirmed Emma Lewis, headteacher at Heathmere Primary School. “This is a fantastic scheme which has really made a difference to local families.”

The Alton School, Granard Primary School, Hotham Primary School and Ashcroft Technology Academy are some of the schools that have received laptops as part of the scheme, with many more delivered across the borough

Ashcroft Technology Academy receives devices

The majority of the devices are donated by members of the public. All data on the device is securely erased, before they are refurbished and allocated to a school or charity which has identified children in need. Headteacher Lewis has personal experience of changing a child’s life via a donation. “I was also extremely happy to personally donate a laptop that hadn’t been used for a while, which is now with a family from West Hill School. I am so glad it has been put to good use.”

A spokesperson for the scheme said: "The support from Putney residents and our local MP has been fantastic, but more donations are urgently needed. Although we have helped many kids already, the demand from local schools has been overwhelming and we need more devices to get more kids connected."

Donating equipment:

Keep Kids Connected:
Do you have a laptop or tablet that is less than 8 years old? Are you a business with some old equipment? If so, you could donate it and change a child’s life. Go to

Even if you don’t have a device, you can donate to the Dons Just Giving page, so we can purchase devices - please quote LAPTOP PUTNEY. The scheme also has a number of devices that only need a battery or power source to be ready to give to a child. You can purchase an item from their Amazon Wishlist -

Power to Connect:
Surplus laptops/tablets that are no longer needed (ideally no more than 5 years old). All devices will be cleaned and wiped of all data by the IT team and turned into a Chromebook before being delivered to schools.

Businesses who want to donate: email
Individuals who want to donate: please complete the donation form

This site understand that currently the government scheme to supply schools with funds to purchase equipment has failed to filtered through. Both Ashcroft and St Cecilia just now told us that they ordered devices with the government back in early April and nothing has happened. In an article in The Guardian (7th June), it was reported that more than half (54%) of secondary school leaders say, as of this weekend, they have not received a single device, and 70% have not received the promised routers to give internet access for these pupils, according to a survey of 142 headteachers by the National Association of Headteachers. “This promise seems to be going unfulfilled,” said Paul Whiteman, the union’s general secretary.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education told The Guardian; 'Williamson had promised to deliver the devices at the end of May and throughout June, and its £100m programme to support pupils with remote education was “on track”. “The Department is prioritising the delivery of devices to the most vulnerable children first – children with a social worker and care leavers,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus.”

June 10, 2020

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