Blancco Technology Group, the industry-standard in data erasure and mobile device diagnostics, has joined forces with WANdisco, the live data company, on the Laptops for Kids campaign, a project aiming to deliver devices to schools in need across the North of England.
Through donations of free drive eraser licenses, Blancco has already enabled the campaign to securely erase 1,400 donated used digital devices, with this number rising daily. The campaign has been integral in supplying children with access to technology, especially during extended periods of homeschooling.
The Laptops for Kids scheme was launched by WANdisco, alongside partners including Blancco, in September 2020 and has sourced 14,000 devices to date. The project aims to address the digital divide, an issue that has been heightened by national lockdowns and subsequent school closures, with nine per cent of families without a laptop, tablet or desktop at home, according to the Children’s Commissioner.
Adam Moloney, Chief Financial Officer, Blancco said, “when WANdisco approached us about collaborating on this campaign, we were of course delighted to be a part of it. The sharp lockdowns forced issues of digital inclusion out into the open, with uncertainty around how children would access online learning. Donations from local communities and businesses have been instrumental in supporting this campaign, and our erasure software ensures all data is irreversibly removed from refurbished devices.
“In organising training on how to use the software, students are understanding the importance of data management best practices, and we’re also going some way to tackling sustainability issues with e-waste. An estimated 90% of computer equipment still ends up in landfill, when more often than not that equipment can be recycled or repurposed and rehomed.”
Initial work for the project was launched with Learn Sheffield, following a survey conducted by Sheffield City Council, that highlighted the need for devices amongst schools and colleges in the city. The Laptops for Kids campaign, which has supplied 4,300 devices to 180 schools across Sheffield, has been rolled out across other northern towns and cities including Barnsley, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Lancaster, Newcastle and Warrington. David Richards, Chairman, CEO & Founder, WANdisco and the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation, sees the issue of digital inclusion as a ten-year problem and has plans for national expansion of the campaign, extending its reach to deal with wider issues concerning access to data, free education networks and the role that mobile network operators can play. For Blancco and WANdisco, the problem is not solved by children returning to school.
David added, “We’re incredibly grateful to Blancco and all that have been involved in this fantastic campaign. We’ve seen the donations make a real impact on children’s lives by keeping them connected with their studies. But our ambition for this project doesn’t stop here. We’re still a long way from closing the digital divide and targets will move as children move through education. We’re committed to supporting schools and colleges for the longer term, as we believe no student or pupil’s potential should be limited by their access to technology.”
Organisations and individuals interested in volunteering or donating to the campaign are encouraged to visit the Laptops for Kids website. You will find specifications on the types of devices that the charity is looking for and learn how you too can make a difference to your community.