Battersea Power Station (BPS) has donated a further 100 laptops to Power to Connect, a campaign it launched in partnership with Wandsworth Council in April 2020, to support local families who were struggling to home school and stay digitally connected during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to Ofcom, 9% of families in the UK do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. When the new national lockdown was announced on 4th January 2021, the first day of the new school term, 400 families in Wandsworth requested digital devices from their local schools.
Power to Connect is aiming to meet this immediate need for 400 devices by February half-term. In addition to the 100 laptops from BPS, Power to Connect has managed to source a further 200 devices, including 100 donated by Wandsworth Council. It is appealing to businesses and members of the local community to help source the remaining 100 used or unused, fully working tablets or laptops, to ensure local schoolchildren can access online learning and not risk falling behind on their education.
Between April and December 2020, Power to Connect collected 500 devices, which were refurbished into Google Chromebooks and donated to families in Wandsworth via 60 schools and to local community organisations. It is aiming to reach a target of 1,000 devices by April 2021, which will mark one year since the Power to Connect campaign began. BPS also donated £10,000 to Wandsworth Council, to provide £10 data vouchers to ensure local families could use these devices to stay digitally connected.
BPS via the Battersea Power Station Foundation aims to invest in effective community-based organisations, which are working to make lasting improvements to the lives of people and neighbourhoods in the boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth. BPS has contributed over £165,000 to a number of charities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic including: Age UK Wandsworth, the NSPCC, St George’s Hospital Charity, Wandsworth Foodbank, Waste Not Want Not, Carney’s Community, Caius House, Providence House, FAST, Devas, Elays Network, the Nine Elms Arts Ministry and the Rotary Club of Battersea Park.
Abigail Brady, Headteacher at Ronald Ross Primary School in Wandsworth said:
“Power to Connect has supplied devices to some of our most disadvantaged families this year. The story is usually the same – too few devices to go around, making remote learning impossible for many. Thanks to the donations from Power to Connect, families have told us their lives have improved immeasurably, as the stress of managing access to online learning has eased. The devices have had a positive impact on pupil’s motivation to learn and families have been able to see their children progress and not lose pace with their classmates.”
Councillor Will Sweet, Wandsworth Council Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, said:
“We set up Power to Connect with Battersea Power Station at the start of the pandemic to ensure no child was left behind, and since then hundreds of laptops have been distributed to local families. We’re grateful to BPS for this further donation at a time when children are again learning from home and would like to thank everyone who has helped us keep communities digitally connected.”
Alex Baker, Director of Communities and Sustainability at Battersea Power Station, said:
“Supporting local communities sits at the heart of our core values at Battersea Power Station and children are key to building the communities of the future. We are extremely grateful to the Battersea Power Station shareholders for this donation and to the volunteers behind Power to Connect, who show true community spirit by giving up their free time and expertise to ensure devices reach the most vulnerable children in the borough.
“There are still many more families who are experiencing digital poverty and we welcome businesses and members of the local community getting in touch to donate unwanted, fully working laptops to help us meet this immediate need for 100 devices before February half-term.”