Lockdown changed the way we all live our lives. The way we work, the way we shop and the way in which children go to school.
Many parents took on the role of teacher as schools closed its doors to most students, but for those that need a laptop to do schoolwork but do not have their own this is where Business2Schools steps in.
The charity rehomes good-quality office furniture and computers that might otherwise go to landfill or be sold.
Since lockdown started it has found more than 600 laptops for schools, 400 desktops and more than 600 monitors.
Lindsey Parslow, chief executive Business2Schools, said: “These are really helping to upgrade school tech and get devices out to children in their homes. There are many more devices needed, with so many families having parents working from home or more than one child also at home, so just not enough laptops or computers to go round a household.
“We’ve found quite a few but the target is 1,000,000 devices and a lot are now coming directly from BBC radio to the B2S list of schools. The National Grid donated 200 laptops for which Bourne Community College received 40.”
The charity currently has more than 500 schools registered all across the UK and so far has donated 1,000 tonnes of furniture to schools and donated more than £10million in office, infrastructure and computers.
She said: “We have over 120 schools registered with us in Sussex, many of whom are receiving donations or office contents, but most of these come from London and it’s really important for our charity that we limit the impact on the environment as much as possible and get donations from businesses in local communities so lorries are not driving long distances to deliver these items to schools in the South of England.
“Over 100 businesses are now supporting Business2Schools with sustainable solutions to climate change.”
It was launched in March 2019 after it successfully rehomed some London office furniture into Rose Green Junior School in Bognor Regis and Bishop Luffa CE School in Chichester, schools that Lindsey’s children attended.
She said: “It’s always easier to start these things in the schools you know, and they were great in reaching out to their area schools to help us get it off the ground.”
Other Sussex schools include: Balcombe CE Primary School, Billingshurst Primary School, Southway Junior School in Burgess Hill, Bewbush Academy in Crawley, Bolney CE Primary School in Haywards Heath, Castlewood Primary School in Horsham, Georgian Gardens CP School and Riverbeach Primary School in Littlehampton. Springfield Infant School in Worthing, Storrington Primary School and Thakeham Primary School.
Bodiam Primary School in Bodiam, Fairlight Primary and nursery schools and St Mark’s CE Primary School in Brighton, Ark Alexandra Academy and Ark Blacklands Primary Academy in Hastings, St Nicolas CE Primary School in Portslade and Uplands Community College in Wadhurst. Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, Hassocks Infant School, Downlands Community School and The Windmills Junior School in Hassocks.
Mike Wood, head of Sidlesham Primary School, Chichester said: “As a primary school head, my passion is to provide the pupils in my care with the best possible education and primary experience. However, school budgets are tight so we have always had to be creative in order to give as much as possible to the children whilst maintaining a balanced budget.
“Business2Schools has had a profound impact on our small school – we have gratefully received donations ranging from furniture to technology from a number of businesses looking to help schools and the children have benefited enormously from the new learning opportunities these donations provide.
“In addition to our school, B2S organised for a shipping container to be situated on our grounds where businesses can make donations and other local schools can collect whatever they need.
“As a result, over 20k worth of tech and furniture has now been provided to other local schools within the locality. On behalf of all the children, governors, parents and staff at Sidlesham, I’d like to say an enormous thank you to the businesses that have donated and B2S for setting up such a beneficial initiative.”
Helping schools to save money was one of a number of reasons why Lindsey, who is managing director of Mayfair Quarters, set up the charity.
She said: “When 1,000 heads marched to Westminster to petition for fairer funding we wanted to do something to help. Offices are always struggling to get rid of furniture and tech they don’t need and this idea is so simple.If we can help save schools money and help businesses measure their sustainability goals, ESG and climate change then everyone wins.
“No office items that have purposeful life in them should ever find their way to landfill. This is all part of the circular economy and our charity is one of the best ways to address those values.”
Its partners include Soho Creative, Meon Valley Travel Group and Carfax International. Tesco Head Office donated 220 desks prior to lockdown and has since donated 320 monitors to schools.
Stephen Guy, of McCann Worldgroup, said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Business2Schools to re-home our unwanted furniture and equipment to support the learning environment of pupils and schools, especially in such challenging times as these. A time which can only compound the financial strains faced by schools across the UK. The impact of their work is a testament to the incredible value of sustainable giving – big or small.”
Lindsey added: “It’s the best measure of sustainability, climate change and environmental goals. It teaches children in a tangible way about the circular economy and why things must be used for the whole of their purposeful life and not be discarded when they are upgraded by offices.”
Furniture in schools are usually decades old and its computers are on a ten-year replacement. Lindsey explains that any office that is throwing out things that newer than this should consider donating it to Business2Schools.
She added: “The success and interest in the charity has been phenomenal, however like all charities we lost our marathon runners and fundraising has been much harder.
“We are a hugely optimistic charity and we’re sure post lockdown this will change.”
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