Laptop drive for kids home schooling was 'a beautiful community effort'

man speaking microphone downs syndome

Kenny and his son George speak at the SEND Crisis March in Stevenage last summer. - Credit: Archant

An appeal for laptops and tablets to be distributed to families in Stevenage, bridging the 'digital divide' has been a roaring success.

Around 60 pieces of tech have been distributed to those struggling with home learning, thanks to People for People - which is run by business owner Kenny Arnold. 

He told the Comet: "It was a phenomenal effort, a beautiful community effort. 

"It was not just those who went and got their old stuff and cleaned it - both virtually and COVID-clean - but it was also others who brought them down to the salon, and then those who offered to repair them and bring them back to us."

Kenny used the People for People page to appeal to anyone with surplus equipment to donate to a child in need, after it was announced that schools would close once again for the majority of children. 

Leah Davenport

Leah Davenport volunteered to help organise the laptop pick up and drop off times. - Credit: Kenny Arnold

Not only did the Stevenage community deliver, but newsagents McColl's - located across the road from Kenny Arnold's Salon in the High Street - also got on board and delivered chocolates for the children to enjoy. 

"This is a shining example of what a community we are," Kenny continued.

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"I don't think there's a more compassionate community anywhere. This was so well supported, it's been wonderful.

"Everyone who collected a unit was so lovely and grateful. That's what I would say to the people who donated - we are talking about 60 families that have this work piling up, and parents are already feeling the stain of home schooling.

"There's a lot of anxiety and you have taken away some of that for that family. 

"You might think it's just a laptop, but it makes a child happy. Not only can it be used to help them keep up with school work, but also to stay in touch with grandparents and friends during this isolating time in lockdown.

"A big thank you to our tech teams that brought many a laptop back from the dead, to Coleen Houlihan who had this terrific idea, to my lovely son Sam who helped me get all this transported and organised and to the incredible Leah who got her superb logistical brain around the chaos and made it run pretty smoothly."

People for People is waiting to see if some companies will be able to donate - any leftover units will be given to local schools to distribute to students. 

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