Families across Oldham will benefit from a kind donation from a family-owned local company.
Oldham Volkswagen, based on Manchester Road in Chadderton, has shown its support with a gift of 24 Hewlett Packard laptops to children who otherwise will continue to struggle with access to education - both during the lockdowns and going forwards.
They have been delivered in a Covid-secure way to local charity Home-Start HOST to ensure the vital equipment will reach the children in the borough that need the devices most.
During the pandemic, the majority of children have been unable to physically attend school, and education providers have had to quickly move to remote learning. In the UK, this has led to education primarily being delivered as online learning.
Swansway Group, which owns Oldham Volkswagen, has a long history of investing in the areas where it does business and was keen to help close the gap in Oldham.
A van full of laptops, which will help children across Oldham struggling with access to online learning at home
Director David Smyth said of the initiative: "As a family owned business, we are very grateful to all Oldham customers for the support they have shown us since we acquired Oldham Volkswagen in October 2020. And this is a way we can give back to this community that has welcomed us so warmly. COVID-19 has put a stop to so many things, but we are determined to help where we can, so that Oldham’s children’s learning is not disrupted any more than is absolutely necessary.
"We all know that this year, for so many, the need for family support has never been higher. We were delighted to be able to donate these laptops, which are after all a gateway to learning in 2021, as a gift from our family to the families in need. And hopefully, if there are other businesses that are in a position to do so, they will be encouraged to do the same.”
Sarah Cook, CEO at Home-Start HOST, said: "As a family support charity, our work has never been more needed than during the last 12 months. We have helped many families to access food and essentials and have been able to provide toys and activity packs to help to keep children occupied, as well as providing much needed emotional support and reassurance to parents who are often feeling overwhelmed and increasingly isolated.
"We were very grateful for Swansway’s generous donation of toys at Christmas and to now be able to help our most disadvantaged families by providing laptops is simply fantastic and something that we know will make a huge difference to our children and their education."
This is the second joint venture Swansway Group has undertaken with Home-Start HOST, which supports local families living in poverty. Back in December, Swansway Group delivered hundreds of Christmas gifts to Oldham families, to try to ensure that every child had a gift to open on Christmas Day.
Gary Wood, business manager at Oldham Volkswagen, with Carla Dickinson from Homestart collecting the laptops.