Digitally excluded given support from BBC and regional leaders

The BBC and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) have kicked off campaigns to support digitally excluded people continue their education throughout the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. The GMCA campaign is calling for businesses to donate to the Greater Manchester Technology Fund, which aims at protecting and progressing young people’s futures. ‘Young people themselves told us about their anxieties over keeping connected digitally, ranging from concerns over accessing resources for schoolwork, keeping in touch with their school friends or the ability to be connected to future employers. Those young people in our city-region who do not have easy access to these opportunities face being marginalised and at a disadvantage to their peers,’ noted Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force Diane Modahl. To this aim, the BBC also launched the Make a Difference: Give a Laptop campaign, using its 39 local radio stations to call for listeners and businesses to donate unused devices to specialty charities so that they can be safely wiped and distributed to local schools. One week after launching the campaign, the BBC received nearly 5,000 devices and £30,000 in financial donations, with a further 20,000 devices being pledged by businesses. Other organisations, including ANS Group, Auto Trader, and Arup Group, have already pledged financial donations and the donation of data packages and technology needed for young people to continue their learning from home.