Like many pupils, teenager, Connor Evans, was struggling to access his school work during lockdown.
Thirteen-year-old Connor, from Houghton-le-Spring, was one of the estimated 700,000 children in the UK aged 11-18 who do not have a desktop, laptop or tablet at home, making it difficult for them to take part in home learning.
But Children North East have just presented him with a brand new iPad thanks to funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who, over the last 12 years, have raised more than £2.4m to help us to support the region’s babies, children and young people.
Connor’s mum, Adele Hopper, said her son was ‘over the moon’ to receive the tablet.
And now we’re asking North East businesses and individuals to help us provide more tablets and laptops to families who can’t afford them at this critical time through our ‘Computers for Kids’ campaign.
Luke Bramhall, School Research and Delivery Service Manager, for Children North East, said schools were being encouraged by the government to provide IT equipment but only to certain students:
“If we’re to support those children who are living with the most disadvantage, in order not to let their education fall behind, we must ensure access is provided quickly to resources and equipment whilst schools are closed.”
It was Children North East family support worker, Vicki Price, who identified that Connor needed some tech support.
She has been supporting the family, who live in Houghton-le-Spring as Connor has distraction disorder and had been temporarily excluded from school four weeks prior to lockdown.
Vicki said, “I could see how difficult it was for Adele to try and persuade Connor to engage in school work with just her mobile phone – it would be difficult for any young person, but for someone who is easily distracted, it was proving a nightmare.”
“Connor can only concentrate on something for so long so trying to do reading on the phone just wasn’t working. It was so frustrating when school was moving everyone online as there are families who can’t afford computers and laptops.”
Before Connor, who attends New Bridge Academy in Sunderland, received the iPad, he had been struggling to access his work on the screen of Adele’s small Huawei.
“Obviously, you can’t see a whole sentence on the phone and he would fling it to one side and we’d have tantrums,” Adele said. “We’re really grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery and to Children North East. Since getting the iPad, he’s over the moon and we’ve heard from school how pleased they are with his progress. He’s now logging in daily to complete at least one 45 minute task a day which has tripled his score on Power Up since he started the school in January.”