Rotherham manufacturing firm donate £400,000 to provide laptops for schoolchildren

A Rotherham manufacturing firm has donated £400,000 to supply laptops to children who need them for remote-schooling.

Some £300,000 of the funds, given by AESSEAL plc, will provide for 1500 refurbished laptops across Rotherham, which is around half of the estimated need in the South Yorkshire town.

AESSEAL have also donated a further £100,000 to Sheffield-based Laptops for Kids to supply dongles to connect 10,000 households to the internet.

The mechanical seals firm believes that its donation will ensure every household without the internet in South Yorkshire will now be able to access a dongle.

Chris Rea, managing director at the firm, said: “At AESSEAL, we believe in being a good neighbour, partner and useful member of the communities in which we live and work.

“Our donation is an investment in young people across Rotherham and South Yorkshire – we will need their ideas and energy to tackle the global challenges facing our planet.”

Technology entrepreneur David Richards, co-founder of the Laptops for Kids campaign, said: “Huge thanks to AESSEAL for this powerful expression of support, which will help thousands of children to access remote learning during the pandemic.

“This should be a clarion call to businesses everywhere to support our campaign and make sure every child has safe access to the internet so they can fulfil their potential.”

Coun Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “This is a tremendous gesture from AESSEAL which befits their commitment to our local community, and expanding opportunities for local people. I want to offer my personal thanks to Chris and his team.

“I’m really pleased that the council is able to work alongside them and our schools to ensure that more IT equipment will get to the children who will most benefit from it.

“In what has been the most awful year, this is another example of how our community comes together to look after each other and overcome the challenges that we face.”

Analysis from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership based on data from Ofcom and ONS shows there are at least 116,000 families in Yorkshire and the Humber without access to a laptop, tablet or desktop computer, equating to 10 per cent of the county’s population.

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