Lewes mum leads ‘essential’ laptop initiative

A woman from near Lewes is working to get children the much-needed technology for homeschooling.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 11:44 am

Lisa Colbourne, from Barcombe near Lewes, started Laptop Liberators this month as schools went back to remote learning due to a third national lockdown. The initiative aims to get children the devices they need to learn from home.

Lisa was soon approached by Teresa Shepherd who has joined the Laptop Liberators scheme and delivered the first set of devices to a school in Uckfield.

With children in and out of school a lot in the last year due to the pandemic, parents have had to turn to homeschooling and remote learning, most of which requires a computer with internet access - something a lot of children do not have.

In June last year the BBC reported at least 700,000 children were missing out on schoolwork due to their lack of resources.

The government has already committed £100 million to support children learning from home but many are still falling behind with their studies because of their lack of the correct technology.

Lisa wants people to donate their old laptops for children that really need them.

She said, “I work in a local school so I am very aware of what children need. At Laptop Liberators we are inundated with requests for devices.”

Lisa Colbourne SUS-210121-104036001

After a social media post asking for donations, the idea really took off. Lisa has since been joined by Colin Hill who is doing the same in West Sussex - an initiative called Computers For Kids.

Lisa said it’s not as simple as passing on an old laptop to a student - there are checks and work that needs to be done first. These checks are something Colin is getting plenty of support with in West Sussex, but something slowing Laptop Liberators down in East Sussex.

She said, “I’m so desperate to get these devices out as soon as possible but when donated they go through a thorough wiping of the hard disk drive and then Pat tested - schools don’t have the funds to do this themselves.

“So many schools and families are in need. I just need some kind of support in East Sussex as our side is taking ages to get the devices out.”

If there are any computer technicians, charities or businesses that could help Lisa, get in touch via the Laptop Liberators Facebook page.