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Schools in Derry given new computers to support home-schooling families

New initiative sees devices donated to local schools

Schools in Derry given new computers to support home-schooling families

Mayor Brian Tierney hands over computers to Thornhill College.

Schools in Derry have been given computer equipment to help families overcome the challenges of home-schooling.

The equipment has been funded through Derry City and Strabane District Council's Covid-19 Community Support Programme (CSP), which has delivered support to local communities in recent months funded by the Department for Communities.

In January, £270,000 was allocated in a third tranche of funding for the delivery of a dedicated Connectivity Programme for post-primary schools in Derry.

The programme is being delivered in partnership with Local Growth Partnerships who have been working with local schools in their areas to ascertain need and target distribution.

St Brigid's College received 104 chrome books, Thornhill College received 69 chrome books and 18 laptops while St Columb's College received 37 chrome books and 53 laptops – a total of 281 devices for students in the Ballyarnett electoral area.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, visited three schools in Derry to deliver the new equipment.

"It was fantastic to see the schools receiving this second batch of hardware today," he said.

"This hasn't been an easy journey for teachers who have been doing their very best to support students with very limited resources.

“It has also caused undue stress for families and children who have been struggling to keep up with lessons without access to tablets or home computers.

"Connectivity has been a major issue for children in rural areas who have also faced the additional challenge of poor broadband service as well as limited resources.

“We have a long way to go before we see the end of this health crisis and I hope this equipment goes some way to assisting schools and families when the need arises."

Ciara Ferguson is Manager of Greater Shantallow Area Partnership in the Ballyarnett area, where they have been working with schools to ensure the equipment reaches those who need it most.

"The community here has been under incredible pressure during the pandemic," she said. "Families have really been struggling to meet the demands of home schooling – particularly families with three or four children.

“The financial pressures presented by Covid-19 have meant people are living on tighter budgets and simply can't afford to buy expensive items like tablets or laptops.

"I'm delighted to see the arrival of this second batch of equipment which will ensure we have the resources available to assist those in need should they have to return to blended learning for any period over the coming months.

“This will be a great relief to both teachers and parents,” added the local community worker.

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