Being Part of the BBC Make A Difference. Give A Laptop Campaign. Digital Divide. Team Sivill
As many of you are likely to be aware, Lockdown has brought a whole host of challenges and demands that have never been encountered before. Here at Sivill Service in Tattershall, Lincolnshire, we teamed up with the BBC to help combat some of these issues. Here is a bit of a glimpse at our side of the story.
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had one of the most dramatic impacts upon the population in the UK that are under 16 years old. As explained in the article by Cambridge University the so-called Digital Divide in the UK has become an increasing problem with the demand for home schooling. More and more classes have headed online and there are large numbers of children within the UK suffering with what is known as the Digital Deprivation. Parents and children that were ill equipped to deal with an online world before Covid-19 just do not have access to the resources needed to allow them to learn from home.
So as kids return to school we take a look back at our contribution so far....... A little over 8 weeks ago, I made contact with the BBC about their Give A Laptop Campaign. I contacted BBC Radio Lincolnshire with an offer of help. We are in a very unique position here at Sivill Service in that we had both services and laptops to offer. The BBC were keen to get us involved and have offered fantastic support to us. Both BBC Radio Lincolnshire and BBC Look North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire were amazing.
Up to now (13 March 2021) we have taken in and processed in excess of 300 donated devices. We have also donated 50 of our own machines. So far 297 have gone out to schools, a nursing home and mental health charity with another pile of machines waiting to go.
(Left to Right: My husband Chris (volunteer), My sister in law Sammi, Chris Sivill, Myself and at the front is Lauren (volunteer that is in a social support bubble with Sammi) and Floki the Husky). #Team Sivill.
We have worked a large number of hours and covered thousands of miles picking up and delivering laptops and devices across the county and one trip to Bridlington to collect from a gentleman called Alan that had collected devices from his church group. This has been a huge challenge for us. Check out our videos on Youtube channel to learn more about us and the campaign.
We have delivered to over 20 local schools taking a huge number of devices. We are grateful to each and every donor for their devices and monetary donations via our gofundme page. Every device has been fully data wiped using KillDisk software that is registered to us. This can take a huge amount of time to carry out but tests both the hard drive and machine whilst running. Any hard drive that fails is physically destroyed. The machines have then been installed with a new fully licenced Operating System, Malwarebytes, Google Chrome, Libre Office and Adobe Reader. Access to Microsoft Office and teams is gained via the school.
We have then transported and delivered these machines in batches of 10 across Lincolnshire schools. We have had letters, cards and communications from the schools and students telling us what these devices mean to them. We would like to thanks each of the schools that have been involved with us for allowing us to film. Especially Banovallum and Tattershall Primary School that both went the extra mile allowing us to record with the BBC.
We knew that kids were struggling having seen for ourselves. Lauren who volunteered her time to help us has a daughter that has struggled with home learning and found that lack of a computer meant that her daughter found school work much harder. Lincolnshire has a huge population that is below average earnings wise and it is poorer area in comparison to others. We had the ability to help and so tried our very best to pitch in and support our community.
Kids have now returned to school but the demand for these devices has not gone away. Many of the counties schools are placing a demand on needing IT equipment in the classrooms, for homework and for learning. The onus having moved away from books even with the return to school and onto the internet. We will continue to provide support where we are able and offer discount on products and services relating to IT in store here for parents and children that attend any of the schools that we have provided machines too.
We know that our contribution is only a drop in the ocean in comparison to the numbers of devices that have been needed and will continue to be required but we stand proud that we have tried to help. I am proud of the volunteers, our staff and all of #TeamSivill for their contribution to this ongoing campaign. Lauren has had a very steep learning curve and has done an amazing job of remembering and learning all we do over a short period of time. My husband is used to working with us but has put up with me working very long hours and then doing social media stuff at home too. My boss - Chris Sivill has my gratitude for backing me and allowing us to take part in this campaign.
For those left wondering - no one has paid us to do this. We have relied on the donations we have had to help with costs. We had a volunteer driver called Tom whom did a fantastic job driving around and collecting machines. We owe him a huge thanks for the time he saved us. Also to those businesses that have acted as drop off points for us..... The Windmill Shop, Heckington, Moorlands Service Station in Woodhall Spa, Sainsbury's in Spalding, Ink and Toner Direct in Ruskington and also to Marcus at Cerebus Computing in Boston for his contribution.
All in all it is fair to say that this was an amazing thing to be part of and knowing that we have played a huge role in the large number of devices donated in Lincolnshire makes me all the more proud. We could not have gotten to this number of machines without the backing of the BBC. It has been a humbling experience to realise the generoisuty and support that we have had.
If your child attends a school in Lincolnshire that needs help with devices please ask them to contact us as we may be able to help!