The Manchester Evening News is today hosting a Digital Donation Day to help schoolchildren who are struggling to learn from home.

Thousands of youngsters across Greater Manchester are without the devices, data and internet connections to be able to remote learn while schools are closed to all but key worker and vulnerable children.

Some schools and colleges have yet to receive their full promised allocations of devices from the government, but even when they do, it's estimated that 20,000 young people will still be without either a device or data to give them the digital access they'll need.

And with it looking increasingly unlikely that schools will be reopening in full anytime soon, it's even more important to help plug that digital gap.

We have teamed up with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) - which is made up of the region's 10 councils and Mayor Andy Burnham - to support the Greater Manchester Tech Fund.

Created last year, with the aim of helping vulnerable families, phase two has now launched amid the current lockdown - and aims to raise £300,000 to help 1,000 digitally excluded young people across Greater Manchester, through the donation of funds, new tech and data packages and used devices.

It's just a small portion of the 6,000 plus pupils that 39 of the region's schools have already made a plea to the fund for, but it's a start and hopefully Manchester can come together to help even more of them over the coming weeks.

Today we'll be highlighting the businesses that have already come forward with support and tracking donations as they come in.

Companies backing the campaign

Some businesses have already pledged their support to the fund, with the likes of Auto Trader, The Prince’s Trust, Arup Group, Business in the Community and ANS Group, all getting on board with offers of help.

Individuals and businesses can also make cash donations.

Visit the website here to make a contribution

https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/digital/the-greater-manchester-technology-fund/

Target

Phase 2 of the tech fund is aiming to raise £300,000 to help 1,000 digitally excluded young people across Greater Manchester, through the donation of funds, new tech and data packages and used devices.

What your donation means

A donation of £300 can purchase a complete digital kit and data package bundle including access to internet and laptop or tablet for a digitally-excluded young person in Greater Manchester and to enable them to continue their learning at home.

Businesses are being asked to help in a number of other ways. These include:

Individuals and businesses can also make cash donations.

Visit the website here to make a contribution

https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/digital/the-greater-manchester-technology-fund/

Boohoo donation

Manchester-based fashion retailer Boohoo has kickstarted today’s campaign by donating 250 new laptops and 40 used iMacs for refurbishment.

John Lyttle, CEO of Boohoo group plc, said: “Young people have felt some of the worst consequences of this pandemic, with their friendships and education significantly disrupted. We all have a role to play in supporting our young people as we begin on the road to recovery and I’d like to thank everyone at the Mayor’s office and my team at boohoo who has helped to make this happen.”

The donation amounts to a contribution of more than £150,000 and the company is working with GMCA to get these out to the schools they have identified as quickly as possible.