Arsenal in the Community are set to donate 250 laptops to local schoolchildren in a bid to combat the growing issue of digital poverty.
The digital exclusion of some of the UK's most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis has not only impacted the academic development of students, but also the mental health of those unable to keep in contact with friends and family.
Having identified this issue, Arsenal in the Community have worked with club partner Intel and Computer Disposals Limited to provide 250 reconditioned laptops which will be gifted to local schoolchildren over the coming weeks.
"A lack of basic technology has posed a huge threat to the wellbeing and academic development of children during lockdown," commented Alan Sefton, head of Arsenal in the Community.
"We have seen in our local community how it has negatively impacted those most vulnerable and it is part of our responsibility to respond to this need and provide support where we can.
"We are truly thankful to Intel and Computer Disposals Limited who have been instrumental in bringing this initiative to life. It is brilliant to have a club partner that shares our core community values and is able and willing to act upon these during difficult times."
Each laptop will be pre-loaded with Windows 10 and other relevant software to ensure immediate access to vital home learning resources, and Arsenal in the Community and Islington Council will work together to deliver the devices to those most in need.
Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Islington Council's executive member for children, young people and families, said: "It is fantastic to see Arsenal in the Community getting behind our drive to tackle digital poverty at home, helping us put laptops in the hands of those in genuine need.
"Their donation means the council will have brought more than 2,000 households into the digital world in just three months, including more than 400 we purchased directly, plus grants we secured from Islington Giving and an allocation from the Department for Education.
"While digital poverty might not be obvious at first, the lack of a computer and online access at home can have profound consequences for young people, locking them out of learning experiences, hampering educational attainment and harming their future prospects.
"The problem is magnified in this ongoing health crisis, with remote learning now a central part of the education infrastructure. Thanks again to Arsenal in the Community for helping to address this need."
This donation forms part of Arsenal's wider community response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen the club drive NHS staff to work, call more than 3,500 vulnerable fans to check-in on them and deliver over 150,000 meals into local London boroughs.
Free digital home learning materials have also been developed to support children who cannot go to school, which feature the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Luiz and Leah Williamson.
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