- Dixons Carphone to become one of three founding partners in the Digital Poverty Alliance
- Pledges £1m to Digital Access For All which will include equipping 1,000 teachers with technology to the benefit of 30,000 pupils
- Support will target schools with highest levels of Pupil Premium children
- An estimated 1.8 million children are living in households where there is no home access to a laptop, desktop or tablet*
- New commitment adds to Dixons Carphone’s existing support of addressing the digital divide with Age UK
Dixons Carphone is to give £1million to support disadvantaged pupils, parents and teachers as part of a longer-term commitment to help end digital poverty in the UK.
The business behind Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse is working with The Learning Foundation to give £1m to the charity’s Digital Access For All (DAFA) programme to support digital learning. The money will also equip 1,000 teachers and teaching assistants with the technology and help they need to deliver high quality home schooling to 30,000 disadvantaged pupils** during the pandemic and beyond.
The retailer will also become one of three founding partners in the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA), a group of organisations brought together by DAFA and the Institution of Engineering and Technology to tackle digital poverty in the UK, particularly for disadvantaged children.
Dixons Carphone will work with the DPA as they draw together the partnership which will include major companies, local and national government departments and enterprises, charities and community organisation. Digital Access For All founding partners include Nominet, Intel, Microsoft, BT and Lloyds Bank. Dixons Carphone will bring its unique expertise in areas such as trade-in, repair, recycling and services, as well as utilise its extensive, national distribution and retail network, to help the Alliance achieve scale in their ambitions.
The pledge underscores Dixons Carphone’s commitment to its vision ‘We Help Everyone Enjoy Amazing Technology’ and promises a sustainable approach that delivers the excitement and inclusivity of technology to every child.
Alex Baldock, CEO of Dixons Carphone, said: “Our business exists to help everyone enjoy amazing technology. We’re already helping thousands of older people to digitally connect through our partnership with Age UK and now we’re stepping up to tackle the digital divide in education.
“Supporting teachers is our first priority as part of this pledge. Teachers are among the heroes of the pandemic and many are struggling with getting the most out of technology and remote learning.
“We will work with Digital Access For All and the Digital Poverty Alliance to develop solutions to eradicate this problem. With our scale, award-winning recycling and reuse operations, significant presence in the community and the help of 22,000 expert UK colleagues, we are confident we can make a difference.”
Paul Finnis, CEO of The Learning Foundation, said: “We could not be more excited to have Dixons Carphone on board. In our 20-year history of working with schools and technology we've learned how to develop innovative solutions to address the digital discrepancy that exists at home for millions of people. With the pandemic having only exacerbated this divide, having a specialist retailer with the expertise, size and scale of Dixons Carphone will be game changing.”
Lord Knight of Weymouth, Ex-Minister of State for Schools and Chair of Digital Access For All, said: “I am delighted to welcome Dixons Carphone as the lead partner of the next stage of the work of Digital Access For All. This donation will ensure that our shared ambition of closing the digital divide is closer to being realised and enable us to achieve what we set out to do in 2019 when we launched – to end digital poverty for all by 2025”.
Notes to editors
*Source: Ofcom Technology Tracker 2020
** Laptops for teachers support detail
There are approximately two million Pupil Premium children whose family circumstances mean that they have been eligible at any point in the last six years for free school meals.
The Learning Foundation has a database of all schools and the programme will identify schools with the highest levels of Pupil Premium children and contact them with the Dixons Carphone proposal. This proposal will:
- Offer a number of devices per school for teachers who do not have a device they can use for teaching.
- Be applicable to both Primary and Secondary state schools.
- Require the agreement of the Headteacher.
Other activity by Dixons Carphone to address digital poverty during the pandemic includes:
- We have donated hundreds of laptops, tablets and headsets to Age UK to help their Silver Line support network and to also keep vulnerable older people connected during the pandemic.
- In addition, we have recently invested and provided colleague volunteers to Age UK’s Befriending Helpline
- We have loaned store display Chromebooks to 450 Dixons Carphone colleagues to enable them to home school their children
- We have supported Barnardo’s with 100 refurbished tablets and the Big Issue with 15 refurbished tablets
- We have donated over 800 pre-loved tablets to schools, local councils and hospitals across the UK including:
The Handsworth Association of Schools, which consists of 30 schools in Birmingham, Liverpool City Council and Southampton Hospital
***The digital divide
There are as estimated 1.8 million children living in households where there is no home access to a laptop, desktop or tablet. Digital exclusion can lead to poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy, increased loneliness, social isolation, and less access to jobs and education. It can mean paying more for essentials, financial exclusion and an increased risk of falling into poverty.
***Reference – accessed on 01.02.2021 - https://digitalaccessforall.co.uk/
For further information please contact:
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Tim Danaher, Sam Chiene
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About Dixons Carphone
Dixons Carphone plc is a leading omnichannel retailer of technology products and services, operating through 931 stores and 16 websites in eight countries. We Help Everyone Enjoy Amazing Technology, however they choose to shop with us.
We are the market leader in the UK & Ireland, throughout the Nordics and in Greece, employing over 22,000 capable and committed colleagues in the UK & Ireland and approximately 32,500 globally across the Group. Our full range of services and support makes it easy for our customers to discover, choose, afford and enjoy the right technology for them, throughout their lives. The Group’s core operations are supported by an extensive distribution network, enabling delivery to stores and homes, a sourcing office in Hong Kong and a state-of-the-art repair facility in Newark, UK.
Our brands include Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse in the UK & Ireland and iD Mobile in the UK; Elkjøp, Elgiganten and Gigantti in the Nordics; and Kotsovolos in Greece. Our Dixons Travel brand has a presence across several UK airports as well as in Dublin and Oslo, and our services are provided through Team Knowhow.
About the Learning Foundation
Our vision is to fully address the current situation where, despite growth in home access to the internet, there are still more than 2 million children in the UK who have little or no access to a device or cannot get online at home, limiting their education opportunities, their chances of improving themselves and hindering their development of digital skills.
Launched as a registered charity in 2001, our aim is to ensure all children have access at home and at school to exciting learning resources so that they may fulfil their potential and overcome disadvantage. We achieve this by working in partnership with schools, parents, charities and businesses.
We know that children achieve their potential when they feel engaged with learning. So we enable teachers and parents to inspire engagement through technology.
About Digital Access For All
When we launched Digital Access For All in February 2019 our ambition was, over the next three years, to deliver a scalable programme that addresses the needs of the two million school aged children who did not have adequate access to a computer and the internet at home and skills necessary to develop them.
Lack of access entrenches those already at a disadvantage by further negatively impacting their financial and educational future. The vision of the Taskforce is to ensure that all children and young people in the UK have equal access to digital and the benefits it provides and specifically over those next three years to respond to the needs of “two million school-aged children that have either no access or inadequate access to a device or connectivity”.
In 2021, as a result of the massive social change and understanding of the issue that concurrently occurred about digital poverty, the extent of that divide and the importance of this for everyone during the pandemic-hit year of 2020, DAFA has adapted to its mission. Early in 2021 we will be announcing major new partnerships and an approach to ending digital poverty for everyone in the UK effectively and sustainably.