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Laptops make a difference for Hackney residents

6 April 2021

A gift aimed at seeing Hackney young people through lockdown is set to leave a lasting legacy.

Months of home schooling resulted in real difficulty for some youngsters on Hackney’s Gascoyne estate, who had to resort to their parents’ phones or share devices with siblings to access education.

Volunteers from Gascoyne Tenants and Residents’ Association (TRA) worked together to identify local people who would most benefit from some extra support – with eight families coming forward.

Laptops were provided for them using funding from Sanctuary Housing, which was matched by the TRA, making a real difference for those involved.

And the impact is set to continue. Going forward, the young people will use the laptops for homework and virtual studying outside of lessons, particularly as they move on to further education.

One local teen, Junior Donnelly, lives with his family in Gascoyne House. He said: “The laptop has made a big difference. There were things I couldn’t do before, like using Teams at school.

“I used to share a phone with my brother which was so difficult to manage. My GCSEs are coming up soon, which is why having the laptop is such a support for me.”

Derek Smith from the TRA, who consulted with residents and organised the match funding, added: “We are of course thankful to Sanctuary for the laptop funding, but the difference they will make goes beyond just being able to access education.

“We have also seen a boost in engagement among these young people, a really positive attitude change, which in turn will go on to stand them in good stead for their future lives and careers.”

Chris Silvey, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, commented: “It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to work with the TRA and offer further support to these youngsters.

“We had also loaned an additional 17 laptops to other people on the Gascoyne, Kingsmead and Morningside estates, which we were delighted to gift to the families involved.”