As a business, we have had to adapt to a different work model this year, with the majority of our people moving to a remote working situation. As the year progressed it became clear that Covid-19 was likely to be around for longer than imagined and as a technology company, we were able to make further adjustments to ensure business continuity and to stay safe.
However, the virus has highlighted a marginalised sector in the UK that risks being disconnected further than it already has been. National charity, UK Youth, introduced the IT 2020 Project in response to an inundation of requests for IT devices, an initiative thought up by Mark Nicholas, Bell Integration. Being informed of the severe impact the pandemic was having on some of the UK’s young people, Mark arranged a pledge of x100 refurbished devices via Hamilton Rentals and Bell Integration.
Through a major digital transformation, the youth sector has been forced to try and make sure that young people could still be supported during lockdown. Unfortunately, this has only served to expose the vast amounts of digital poverty across the UK.
Some of the youth clubs and individuals affected are:
My Time Young Carers, a Charity serving young carers aged 5–15. “Members of the young carer community have experienced extraordinary challenges while caring for vulnerable loved ones this year, including heightened feelings of isolation and difficulties keeping up with school work, so when Mark and the team from Bell Integration and Hamilton generously donated 12 laptops to help us help young carers, we were absolutely thrilled.”
We are so grateful to Bell Integration, and to the UK Youth team for coordinating the donation, and we know that our young carers are hugely appreciative too. Having received her laptop, Emma, 12, said, “I’m just so happy – I can’t believe it. Thank you so much, this will really help me through my school year.”
Hvoss, an organisation that believes all young people in Herefordshire should have access to safe opportunities to thrive through learning and fun. “Hi Vitesh Kerai, we have received 4 ipads today – thank you so much for your help – our Participants are very grateful for the support and donation, it means a lot to us all” – Richard Betterton, hvoss
Magic Club in Claremont, Blackpool for young people aged 8-16.
Could you please say a HUGE thanks to Mark on behalf of the Magic Club?
Alongside our outdoor activity, we’ve been running two creative programmes in Summer:
Both programmes have helped young people to increase their confidence and find new avenues to express themselves, whilst building new routines and learning processes to support them back to school after such a long absence.
The iPads have been invaluable, both as devices to take photos and do research. Due to the nature of the area, and the financial insecurity of many of our members families, they do not always have access to these devices at home. As such we have been able to provide short term loans, so young people can upload their evidence and continue their learning at school. I am sure they will be well used for many years to come! – Laura White, Chief Officer, Magic Club
Advancement of Community Empowerment in Halifax
“On behalf of Advancement of Community Empowerment CIC, based in Halifax in currently extended lockdown, can I thank you and our donor Mark and his company for the tablets. They have been very well received, especially now in the Coronavirus extended restrictions applying to us across West Yorkshire. We have gifted these devices to local young people to use at home as part of their continued learning and leisure activities, but have also encourage intergenerational learning with parents and grandparents as a lot of families we work with live in extended families in the same home and do not have access to ICT. Thus the young people have been encouraged to support their elders in using the tablets to find information, advice, guidance and support on Coronavirus testing, how to do online benefits, medical information and lots of others useful tools to help people stuck at home.” – Mohammed Hanif, A C E (CIC)
North Tyneside Disability Forum “Gemma is taking a break from pompom making to unwrap and explore our new braille printer, donated to us, along with brailling paper by Mark Nicholas via UK Youth. This will benefit all our blind children and young people and take some pressure off our primary braille providers, previously using the manual braille machine.”
“We are very thankful for the tablets! Our volunteers are now able to chat with young people about their mental health more easily. They have been operating our chat room with the tablets and have also been able to design flyers quicker.” – Restorative Justice for All, London
In their Supporters Newsletter, UK Youth included a section to us, writing “We want to give a big thank you to Hamilton Rentals and the team at Bell Integration for supporting UK Youth and our Nationwide Movement organisations through this time.”
Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on young people and the youth sector, Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth writes “We must act now to ensure that the voice of young people and those that support them does not get forgotten during this crisis, and that the most vulnerable young people get the urgent support that they need now and in the future”