Project Overview

Through Currys’ customer donations, the project purchases laptops for disadvantaged families across areas disproportionately affected by digital poverty. These include communities across North Norfolk, West Cumbria, Staffordshire, Ayrshire, Port Talbot and Bridgend, Lincolnshire and Northern Ireland.

These areas were selected as areas across the country where Tech4Families will be physically rolled out, as they were found to be some of the areas most affected by digital poverty in the UK.

A collage of Tech4Families beneficiaries using their laptops

Project Partners

Currys’ customers nationwide can donate 25p (or 50p for larger purchases) to the Tech4Families project when paying by card or digital wallet in-store, through Currys’ partnership with micro-donation charity Pennies.

Through these digital micro-donations, devices are purchased from Currys and given to families in need.

Currys logo

Project Aims

The evaluation aims to investigate the impact of laptops on children’s digital skills and their ability to do homework, as compared to using mobile devices.

Tech4Families beneficiaries using their laptop at home

Context

  • 43% of children only use portable device to go online (Ofcom, 2022)
  • 30% of children do not have access to an appropriate device at all times (Ofcom, 2022)
  • 26% of children do not have access to a laptop (Nominet, 2022)

Some research suggests that mobile internet access is an inferior experience to PC-based access, especially with regard to seeking information. However, this has not been tested with children, in particular with regard to the impact on their homework and digital skills. Does it matter whether you use a mobile device or laptop to help with homework? Does it impact on digital skills development?

Evaluation

The project will be evaluated by University of Sussex.

The work will consider:

How useful do the children find the laptop for homework – both to help with research and to complete homework set online?

  • How do children use the laptop for schools and non-school activities?
  • Do the children’s digital skills improve as a result of receiving a laptop?
  • How long do the children and their family use the laptop for each day?
  • What are the main reasons the family use the laptop?
  • What are the biggest benefits/negatives to having the laptop?
  • How does using the laptop compare to using a mobile devices?

More detail is available on request.

Following the scheme, the Learning Foundation will evaluate the impact and create a white paper with policy recommendations to share with policy makers in national and local government.

The laptop donated to us through Tech4Families will be a huge help for my daughter, especially as she starts studying for her GCSEs next year! During the pandemic we had to loan a laptop for her schoolwork, but now this is no longer a burden, and we hope more people can be aware of this scheme, and that it helps them as much as it will help us!

Tech4Families Recipient

I can’t express how much this will benefit my children and help them advance in their education, along with how much it will save us all trailing to the library and to family members houses in order to borrow their computers/laptops. I will be forever grateful and thank you so much.

Tech4Families Recipient

Getting these laptops has been a fantastic help to me and my girls. I could not afford to get them myself and the girls need them for their schoolwork. I was embarrassed that I could not get them myself and I am so grateful to get these! I was worried, especially my older daughter who is 14, was getting teased at school about not having her own and having to use the one at school.

Tech4Families Recipient