Laptops for Homeschooling

Cheddar Vale Lions started 2021 positively with a project to benefit the local community.  The Club did not want to stop because of lockdown and identified a really important need within the community that could be carried out within the rules.  The project is now set up to help families and local schools by providing IT items to those children that need the devices for their home schooling.

When the project was launched on social media during the first week in January, it created a lot of interest.Offers of items came in steadily at first and several families immediately requested devices to help them with the home schooling.  The week we launched, an IT Technician, came forward and offered to set up the process of data-wiping and resetting the devices to software that runs Chromebooks (a stipulation of the Wessex Learning Trust).  We then contacted the local Men’s Shed, with whom we have a good working relationship, as we knew they had a member certified to PAT test all the items to ensure their electrical safety.  They kindly offered their services to us and our production line was set!

In the meantime, P.R. Officer, Lion Sylvia, contacted the BBC to discuss being added to their “Make a Difference” website as they had requested any organisations running this sort of scheme to come forward and register with them to gain more donations of used laptops and tablets.  When this went live, we received many donations of equipment and also lots of publicity, including 2 interviews on BBC Radio Somerset, and a slot on the BBC Points West evening news.

Once we started getting the requests in, it was time to have a discussion with our Zone Chairman, Lion Colin Marsh, and ask if we could enlist the help of our neighbouring Lions Clubs to assist with picking up devices in their areas.  Glastonbury & Street, Radstock & Midsomer Norton, Keynsham and Frome Lions Clubs immediately came to our aid, so we have a network set up with them which is running really well and keeping within the Covid-19 lockdown rules.  Working together in partnership has been fantastic and we have managed to log and test over 150 items as of 1 April 2021!

Wyvern Coffee, a local company in Cheddar Gorge, ran a raffle to raise extra money for our project and collected £330 for us.  Another local community café, Lenny’s, also donated another £350 to support us.  Our local community have definitely united behind us after seeing Lion members on our social media page distributing laptops to Families, Cheddar First School, Cheddar Fairlands School, students at the Kings of Wessex School and Hugh Sexeys.We passed over 12 items to Glastonbury & Street Lions for 2 schools in their area. This has been one of the largest projects we have run for some time, so worthwhile, rewarding and sometimes emotional when we see the families that are struggling.I will finish with a quote from Tom at Wyvern Coffee, who backed us from the beginning: “the kids are our future and we need to do everything in our power to make sure that future stays bright”.Lions serving their community!