Albion's pledge of laptops for schoolchildren

Brighton & Hove Albion's Albion As One fund is being used to provide more than 100 laptops to schoolchildren across Brighton and Hove to assist with their home learning during the lockdown.

By Paul Camillin • 20 January 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion's young players using club laptops at the club's academy.

The club has pledged £25,000, and with additional support from the club's official IT supplier Focus Group, Albion in the Community are providing schools with additional laptops to help pupils log on for lessons.

Albion in the Community are already providing a wide-ranging online and offline programme in support of local schools and teachers; and they will manage the rollout of laptops, working with schools in key areas, which urgently need the additional support. 

Club captain Lewis Dunk explained, "When we set up the fund last spring, this was exactly the sort of help we wanted to provide. To those local people who have supported the club to help it achieve everything it has in recent years.

By Paul Hazlewood
An Albion youngster using a club laptop at the club's academy.

"We have a very close bond with the local community, and as someone who went to school in Brighton and Hove I know all too well how brilliant our local schools are, and just how hard the teachers work to achieve that.

"Home schooling my own children during lockdown was a real eye opener, and it made many of us realise the amazing work we all benefit from, so it is great that we can help in this small way to ensure local children can continue their education during these difficult times."  

Mark Barkaway, who normally heads up fundraising for AITC, has been part of the team that has worked with the club's players to identify some of the most critically affected charities across the counties of East and West Sussex, and helped distribute more than £400,000 to local charities and good causes.

He explained "With all schools closed to most pupils, teaching has now moved online. However, not all pupils have regular or any access to a computer or laptop. This lack of access to digital technology is creating inequalities amongst our local schoolchildren.

"With some residual funds left from Albion As One, and thanks to some additional help and support from the Focus Group, there is enough to supply more than 100 laptops to local schools in Brighton & Hove and help those families currently unable to engage their children effectively in remote home learning.

"Children without access to sufficient technology at home can attend school, which has resulted in school numbers going up during this lockdown. By providing laptops to local families, we can help ease the pressure on schools and enable more children to effectively learn from home in a remote and safe way."

Laptops will be given directly to schools to ensure they are given to those families most in need.

AITC are already assisting local schools with the provision of worker support and a range of virtual learning tools including live lessons and webinars for local children and families. 

Barkaway added, "This is part of a wider package of support from Albion in the Community to support schools and families during the lockdown restrictions. 

"We have been providing in-school support for key worker children by delivering PE and sport activity sessions and football themed small group interventions in literacy, maths and PHSE.

"And delivering virtual lessons and online workshops, remotely for schools across Sussex to support numeracy, wellbeing, skills for life and teamwork challenges."