London – March 24 2022 – Lenovo today announced the expansion of its digital equity programme, in partnership with United Way, that aims to fight digital poverty across the UK and Ireland. By working with local authorities, education experts and charitable organisations, Lenovo will ensure technology, time and money reach those most in need. This will be achieved by Lenovo contributing £1 per qualifying education device that Lenovo sells, with the aim to raise £1m to support digital equity work.
As well as donating money and technology, Lenovo will also be offering its expertise to local charities who are working towards the same goal. This pledge will help build a more sustainable digital society through community support and better access to technology. As a result, it will create better learning opportunities for all. This is especially important given that the government predicts that 82% of jobs advertised now require digital skills yet according to Ofcom, a quarter of vulnerable children do not have access to a suitable device for learning.
Jeremiah Emmanuel, author of ‘Dreaming in a Nightmare’ and advocate for overcoming digital poverty said: “Digital inequality is something that I have had to personally overcome, it affected me in several ways. I didn’t feel like I had the same opportunities as others which made it harder to get to where I am today. Having access to the right tools and technology is important, because for many it can be the difference between success or being at a disadvantage.
This is something we witnessed first-hand during the pandemic. Many households in lockdown at times only had one device to share between an entire family or didn’t have a viable internet connection. Without the right digital tools to learn, study and complete important tasks many children will not have the same opportunities as others. This inevitably creates a huge societal divide. Therefore initiatives, such as Lenovo’s Digital Equity Programme, are so important to bridge these gaps and help create a fairer society.”
Equal opportunities for all
Lenovo has selected four organisations across the UK and Ireland to work with, these include:
∙ St Patrick’s Football Club (Dublin): Lenovo will be providing education devices and IT skills training for disadvantaged pupils
∙ Free At Last Birmingham Community (Birmingham): Lenovo will be supplying technology hub support and devices and community-based skills training for families with no connectivity
∙ Ability Net UK (Nationwide). Lenovo will be offering support for National Digital Skills coaches and provision of devices for digitally disadvantaged citizens
∙ SCC Academy (Solihull): Lenovo will provide desktops and monitors for a new Academy in Solihull that supports IT skills training through the Rigby Foundation
The expansion of the digital equity programme accelerates the great work that Lenovo has already done in this space. Recently, Lenovo worked with Impact Art’s Digital Future programme in Scotland. Working with United Way UK and local charity, Impact Arts, Lenovo helped to support young people across Glasgow and Ayrshire to increase their digital knowledge and skills and provided access to necessary infrastructure.
Lenovo delivered volunteering sessions focused on the company’s environmental impact and greener industry hopes for the future, as requested by Impact Arts staff to align with their existing environmental themes. This was followed by a career conversation, with an emphasis on the numerous different routes into the IT sector.
Jane Ashworth, SMB and Channel Director, Lenovo UK and Ireland said: “The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, which helped keep people connected through a difficult time. But it also highlighted that there is a clear digital divide across the UK and many people do not have the same opportunities because they lack access to the right technology and digital skills. As one of the world’s leading technology companies, we are on a mission to help reduce digital poverty and ensure that there are equal opportunities for all. By working with local expert charities and giving money, technology and expertise, we will fight to help improve digital equity in the UK.”