Digital divide. Digital exclusion. Digital poverty. These are all words we’ve all heard, especially during the height of the pandemic when we were all required to work from home, learn from home and interact with our loved ones from the isolation of our own homes. Our homes were our classrooms, our offices, our pubs, cafes and even gyms. But the one constant throughout that time was tech.

Tech was vital to home schooling, to keeping connected to loved ones, to staying fit and healthy. Yet even in 2020/2021, thousands of children and adults across the UK didn’t and still don’t have the tech they need.

Digital poverty isn’t a new problem but is one that has been amplified by the pandemic. Too many young children still do not have access to a laptop or desktop with expense being the most cited reason and around 2.5m UK households struggle to afford internet access.

It is for this reason that we became a founding partner of the Digital Poverty Alliance to ensure that we helped create a world which enables everyone to access the life changing benefits that digital brings. 

Earlier this year we stepped up and donated £1m to help fund a programme aimed at providing tech to the most underpriveldged schools across the UK – Tech4Teachers. Our pledge helped to equip 1,000 teachers and teaching assistants with the technology and help they needed to deliver high quality home schooling to 30,000 disadvantaged pupils. 

We stepped up, as did others. Many organisations, media houses and government bodies rallied to help bridge the huge digital expanse that Covid was creating. Their efforts were to be applauded and the difference made, tangible. However, as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, where are these people now? Where are the campaigns to help fund laptops, where are the call to arms to unite the nation to make a difference? As many have stepped back, we continue to step up.

As the UK’s number one tech retailer, we are determined to end digital poverty once and for all by 2030. The Currys plc vision is ‘to help everyone enjoy amazing technology’ that aligns so closely to the DPA’s vision ‘to live in a world which enables everyone to access the life changing benefits that digital brings.’

Tech is integral to our lives, now more than ever. It is unacceptable that those less affluent are not able to learn, work or operate on the same playing field as their peers. This has to change. We urge others to step up and join. Visit https://digitalpovertyalliance.org/ to find out more.

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