Law Firm Helps Charity Close Digital Divide
Law firm Irwin Mitchell has donated £40,000 to the Laptops for Kids campaign to help local school children gain much-needed access to essential technology.
Irwin Mitchell has raised the funds by recycling old laptops and aged server equipment via specialists at N2S.
A new survey of 100 Sheffield schools and colleges revealed 44 per cent are still in need of various devices to help support their education and concerns remain about access to core technology for new pupils from September.
Informed by the survey’s findings, the Irwin Mitchell donation (the equivalent of 170 laptops) will be used by Laptops for Kids to purchase essential kit from computers to data dongles to meet the specific real-time needs of local schools and their pupils facing digital exclusion.
The initiative is set to benefit pupils from across the city, while contributing to the firm’s commitments to becoming more inclusive and sustainable, a key element of Irwin Mitchell’s Responsible Business strategy.
Launched in Sheffield in 2020, Laptops for Kids aims to increase access to learning for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and sources new and used devices to distribute to schools in need. By spring, the campaign had expanded to several northern towns and sourced 14,000 new and used devices, together with 5,000 data dongles from partners and supporters.
Technology entrepreneur David Richards, co-founder of Laptops for Kids and founder, CEO and chairman of data software company WANdisco plc, said:
“We are thrilled with this show of support from Irwin Mitchell – it demonstrates how businesses can be a powerful force for good in our communities and we encourage more companies to come forward and support the Laptops for Kids campaign.
“Covid outbreaks in schools have reached the highest level since December, further disrupting education for young people and especially those who cannot get online at home because of poverty.”
Garry Dowdle, Chief Information Officer Irwin Mitchell and Chair of IM’s Responsible Business Committee, said: “It’s vital that supplying young people with essential technology does not come to an end when lockdown does.
“While we continue to support a range of charities in our communities, tackling digital exclusion is key to improving the long term life chances for children and equipping them for the world of work.”
Sheffield based Fiona Benoist, Head of IT Services added, “Technology is allowing Irwin Mitchell staff to be flexible by choice in how we live and work post lockdown and we’re proud to support Laptops for Kids in giving young people in the region the same tools to be their best selves and we encourage other local firms to support the campaign.
“In seizing the initiative to deliver responsible business, sustainability and recycling in practice, we are changing the way we work and making changes to schoolwork for children. There is no need to return to the status-quo of the past and we’re proud to be helping to take young people on this journey with us and look forward to expanding the programme to our network of offices across the country in the months ahead.”
Irwin Mitchell anticipates that the £40,000 is just the start as it is planning to use the office re-activation across the summer months as a catalyst for further legacy equipment to be removed and recycled and for the project to be taken nationwide in future.
The firm will also be encouraging colleagues to recycle their own no longer used IT equipment a home. All money raised will support the law firm’s digital literacy campaign where it hopes to support similar initiatives to Laptop for Kids in other parts of the UK.