AF&RS support local initiative to help tackle digital poverty

Staff from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) have teamed up with local charity DigiLocalto help tackle Bristol’s digital poverty crisis.

Following the announcement of a third lockdown, and with pupils told to continue learning from home,  the stark reality is that nearly 12% of young people don’t have access to the internet making learning from home a near impossible task with many young people and families not having access to a laptop or similar device which not only impacts their learning but could also lead to them falling behind with their school work, affecting their future.

Since partnering with DigiLocal, staff from AF&RS have successfully coordinated the donation of over 350 laptops, aiming to help tackle the Bristol region’s digital poverty crisis.

DigiLocal is a Bristol based charity who support the education of young people by giving them access to technology. The charity also hosts free tech clubs for young people across the community.

Vaughan Jenkins, Head of Transformation for AF&RS and who has been co-ordinating the initiative said:  “I would like to offer my personal thanks to those who have given so generously and who’ve donated laptops to those who are digitally excluded. As a public service being able to assist in the donation of over 350 laptops so far to DigiLocal ensuring that members of our communities can access the technology they need to be able to continue to learn from home is something to be proud of.

“The initiative wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity shown by our communities and the hard work demonstrated by our staff who’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that the laptops reach the charity with no delays. We believe these laptops will make a huge difference to those who require them and we are thrilled to be able to support DigiLocal in trying to minimise the impact of digital poverty.”

DigiLocal CEO John Bradford said: “The initiative wouldn’t have been possible without AF&RS, who ever so kindly offered their support and stations which acted as drop off points for the laptops.

“The support we’ve received from Avon Fire & Rescue has been instrumental in helping us to tackle digital poverty, ensuring those who don’t have access to technology at home now do. You’ve truly helped hundreds of young people across our local area, so thank you.”

If you would like to help us tackle digital poverty, and would like to donate a laptop please visit https://digilocal.org.uk/laptop-donations/ to fill out a donation form before dropping it off at one of the below drop off points.

How to donate:

You can donate your laptop following the COVID-safe procedure below:

  • Please ensure the laptop is fully turned off (not in sleep mode)
  • Place the laptop in a clear plastic bag.
  • Place the laptop at the doorstep of the station and ring the bell / knock on the door
  • Wait two meters from the door until the door is answered and the donation taken inside

Where to donate:

Avon Fire & Rescue stations (24/7) include:

  • Patchway
  • Avonmouth
  • Southmead
  • Temple
  • Kingswood
  • Hicks Gate
  • Bath
  • Bedminster
  • Weston-super-Mare
  • Yate (normal working hours only 9am – 5pm)