Mail Force shattered £10m barrier as Computers for Kids soars

£10m Mail Force for good: In just 16 days, magnificent readers and big-hearted donors send Computers for Kids drive to soaring heights

  • Mail Force shattered £10m barrier with pledge of 6,500 laptops from the CPS
  • Laptops were previously used by court prosecutors and will be cleared of data
  • The computers will be helping pupils follow online lessons during lockdown

Mail Force has shattered the £10million barrier with a stunning pledge of 6,500 laptops.

The mammoth total has been reached only 16 days after the launch of the Computers for Kids crusade to help locked-down pupils study from home.

The huge haul of laptops comes from the Crown Prosecution Service. Previously used in court by prosecutors, they are now being wiped clean before being repurposed for the classroom.

It means some will have been used for high-profile trials of terrorists, killers and robbers. Now, in their second lives, the computers will be helping pupils follow online lessons.

Online learner: Mercy Mensah (left) and daughter Debrah (right) with her new laptop. The ten-year-old attends Moston Fields Primary in Manchester

The donation came about after an IT worker at the CPS saw the Mail’s campaign. We are accepting used laptops and – for around £15 – having them professionally refurbished for young learners.

All the latest 6,500 devices are lightweight and powerful ThinkPads made by Lenovo.

The CPS said it would delete all the data on them, including sensitive notes kept by prosecutors of criminal records and case evidence used in trials and plea hearings.

Their value is estimated to be at least £3million, although they will have to go through a formal evaluation before being accepted for schools. Rebecca Lawrence, chief executive of the CPS, said: ‘We need to adapt to the changing demands of our job, such as handling increasingly large data files like CCTV and police body-worn footage. To keep pace, we need to upgrade our equipment.

‘We’re using this opportunity to support home-schooling in these uncertain times by donating up to 6,500 older laptops to Mail Force’s excellent laptops for children campaign.

Study aid: Moston pupil and proud laptop owner Luca Evans, 10, with mother Joanna

DONATE YOUR NECTAR POINTS

There is a new way to help the campaign – by donating Nectar points.

Readers can now choose to give some of the points they have built up with the popular rewards scheme.

Nectar points can be collected by spending at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay, Sky, Currys PC World and a host of other British retailers.

Usually they are swapped for money off purchases, but now a unique new way of using them has been arranged by the Daily Mail, to give to the Mail Force charity.

People can donate either 500 or 1,000 Nectar points to the charity at a time — and there’s no limit to the number of times they can donate.

Simply go to www.MyMail.co.uk and sign in or join for free. At the top of the home page, click ‘Donate your Nectar points’, and you can then choose whether you would like to donate 500 or 1,000 Nectar points to the campaign.

‘We hope these decommissioned laptops will make a real difference to the children and young people who receive them. The CPS’s investment in our digital capability means we’ve been able to continue to deliver justice during the pandemic.’

The CPS is giving the devices in batches, starting with 500. Since the campaign’s launch on January 23, Mail Force has seen an extraordinary number of donations. More than 24,000 readers have sent money, and philanthropists including Sir Tom Hunter have given up to £500,000.

The charity has been boosted by donations of laptops from Lloyds, Sainsbury’s, Santander and Dixons Carphone, with a combined estimated value of £1.4million. 

Together with an amazing £1.5million from readers and cash donations of £3.1million from big companies including Camelot, Boohoo and The Hut Group, the overall value of pledges has shot past £10.1million. It is one of the most successful newspaper campaigns in history, reaching the eight-figure milestone in just 16 days.

The campaign is in conjuction with the Department for Education, which is on a drive to supply 1.3million devices. As well as refurbished laptops, Mail Force will supply new computers and is looking at other ways of helping pupils with online access.

The project has been hailed by teachers, parents, unions, large companies and all six living prime ministers.

Readers have sent poignant messages with their cheques or online donations. Hilary Evans, of Burnham, Buckinghamshire, wrote: ‘As a grandmother of five (four at school and one at university) and as a retired teacher, I am only too aware of the needs of many of our boys and girls.’

Trevor Collins, treasurer of the Rye and Winchelsea Rotary Club in East Sussex, sent £500 following a whip-round of members. 

Together with an amazing £1.5million from readers and cash donations of £3.1million from big companies including Camelot, Boohoo and The Hut Group, the overall value of pledges has shot past £10.1million 

On our Virgin Money Giving page, donor Jacqui wrote: ‘Thank you Daily Mail for bringing this important issue to our attention – kids need computers! Simple as that.

‘Having worked in education and with a passion for technology, especially during this pandemic, this was a no-brainer for me.’

Nora Allan gave enough for two children to get laptops, and said: ‘To give children a good chance with their education which is so valuable for them and their future.’

Mary Manning wrote: ‘I don’t have any interest in owning a laptop. I’m one of that generation who prefers to do things the old way. However, I do realise the world would be unable to perform without all the up-to-date computers.’

In another boost for families, telecoms firms have agreed to grant free mobile access to a major online learning site.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said it was ‘another huge step in making sure young people can continue to have the best possible education while we all stay at home to save lives’ 

Lessons available on the Oak National Academy website will no longer count toward phone data usage. The news came as the government-backed learning hub said it had provided 100million lessons in the pandemic. Now that the website has been ‘zero-rated’ by the firms, families reliant on internet connections from their mobile phones will no longer need to worry about paying out for extra data.

The 11 firms that have agreed to ‘zero-rate’ Oak National Academy’s content are Vodafone, BT, O2, Three, PlusNet, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky, Smarty, EE and Virgin Media.

Matt Hood, principal of the academy, said: ‘We can now make sure that data costs are not locking our poorest families out of online learning. This will make a huge difference.’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said it was ‘another huge step in making sure young people can continue to have the best possible education while we all stay at home to save lives’. He added: ‘100million lessons is a tremendous achievement and illustrates the vital impact Oak is having.’

HOW TO DONATE TO COMPUTERS FOR KIDS 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE 

TO YOU, THE READER: How to send us donations 

The Daily Mail has launched a brand new campaign, Computers For Kids, to raise money for Mail Force – a charity which aims to provide much needed school equipment and resources for pupils across the UK learning from home.

With schools closed, we are left with the dilemma of hundreds of thousands of pupils in the UK having no access to a computer in their home.

As part of this campaign, companies are donating their old laptops which, for around £15, can be wiped, professionally refurbished and made safe and fit for home schooling. They can then be delivered to a child or young person who needs one.

In addition, the campaign is looking to support children’s needs in other ways such as funding brand new laptops and tablets, and assisting with data access and connectivity for online learning. Any surplus funds will be used to support of the work of UK schools via other means.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE

Visit mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate and follow the steps to complete your donation. 

Please don’t send us your old device.

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA YOUR PHONE

To donate £10 – text KIDS10 to 70115

To donate £20 – text KIDS20 to 70115 

TO COMPANIES: Could you give your old laptops?

Upgrading office computers is something all companies do from time to time – and there has never been a better time to donate old laptops. If you are a company with 50 laptops or more that you could give, please visit www.computacenter.com/daily-mail to check they are suitable and register your donation. We will arrange for collection by our specialist partners Computacenter. Please note: we cannot accept donated laptops from individuals.

COMPANIES SHOULD GO TO: computacenter.com/daily-mail 

TO SCHOOLS: Where to apply for the computers

Schools must apply to the Department for Education, which is managing the demand and prioritising the schools most in need. The Mail Force initiative means more laptops will become available more quickly.

SCHOOLS CAN APPLY HERE: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk  

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