UK

After stars’ Mail Force viral video reaches audience of 115 million, donations flood in

Your laptop cash Zooms in! After stars’ Mail Force viral video reaches audience of 115 million, donations flood in… as half of schools say lack of kit is key problem for pupils

  • A team of celebrities have shared their support for the Mail Force drive 
  • Campaign aims to get all of Britain’s children learning through lockdown 
  • Fresh donations of £500,000 pushed the pledges to an astonishing £10.6million

Mail Force’s star-studded fundraising video has reached 115 million people through social media, with A-listers including David Beckham and Naomi Campbell urging viewers to back the ambitious drive to get schoolchildren online.

The celebrities’ video plea – which features 30 of Britain’s biggest names including David Walliams, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson – quickly went viral after its release yesterday.

As well as the famous faces, the hilarious two-minute film includes the grateful schoolchildren of Moston Fields Primary in Manchester, among the early beneficiaries of the Computers for Kids programme.

Mail Force’s star-studded fundraising video has reached 115 million people through social media

Businesses – and our generous readers – continued to answer the call to back the Mail Force drive as fresh donations of nearly £500,000 pushed the pledges in cash and computers to an astonishing £10.6 million in less than three weeks.

These included a mammoth £250,000 contribution by home-builder Persimmon, a £100,000 boost from credit giant Experian and a £50,000 donation from Barratt Developments. 

Online car retailer Cazoo gave £12,500 while its founder Alex Chesterman matched the amount with another £12,500. 

Gift aid of £3,125 on Mr Chesterman’s donation – the largest on the Mail’s online Virgin Money Giving page – brings the Cazoo total to £28,125.

Generous Mail readers have now donated an amazing £1.6 million via online, phone, SMS and mailed cheque donations. 

A-listers including David Beckham and Naomi Campbell urged viewers to back the ambitious drive to get schoolchildren online

A-listers including David Beckham and Naomi Campbell urged viewers to back the ambitious drive to get schoolchildren online

The latest boost allows Mail Force to ramp up the provision of refurbished and new laptop computers to struggling pupils across the country.

It comes as a survey found that almost half of schools believe a lack of access to laptops is the main challenge for children trying to catch up on education missed because of Covid. 

In findings that underscore the prevalence of digital poverty, the Education Endowment Foundation found it was an issue for 48 per cent of schools taking part in a tutoring pilot scheme.

The online tuition was aimed at disadvantaged pupils from 65 schools over the course of last summer, and led to better confidence and engagement with learning overall, the report said.

But ‘access to equipment and reliable internet connections were key barriers to participation’, with one in six pupils also missing sessions because of a poor connection.

Professor Becky Francis, chief executive of the foundation, said the research ‘highlights challenges, in particular the lack of equipment or good internet connection, which meant too many students were unable to access online learning. 

Bridging that ‘digital divide’ must remain a national priority’.

The celebrities' video plea – which features 30 of Britain's biggest names including David Walliams, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson (pictured) – quickly went viral after its release yesterday

The celebrities’ video plea – which features 30 of Britain’s biggest names including David Walliams, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson (pictured) – quickly went viral after its release yesterday

Nick Brook, of heads’ union NAHT, added: ‘If schools are to play their part in healing the scars left by Covid-19, be that educational, developmental or emotional, they and other key support services must be given the additional support, funding and resources they need.’

The Mail’s campaign is being run in conjunction with the Department for Education, which wants to supply 1.3 million devices to needy children.

Online donations continue to roll in from readers, including members of the Rye and Winchelsea Rotary Club in East Sussex who gave £500.

Pensioner Graham, who said he was still learning a lot from his own laptop at the age of 76, gave more than £20 to help a child who couldn’t go to school.

A retired teacher anonymously donated £60, saying: ‘I am only too aware of the inequality of opportunities that arise from children not having equal access to technology at home.’

Businesses back the Mail Force drive 

Experian 

A credit giant with more than 125 years of experience of helping people across 37 countries, Experian has found a novel way to give Mail Force a potential £200,000 boost.

Experian said the digital divide was a nationwide issue and pledged to match donations pound-for-pound up to £100,000 via online match-funding website The Big Give.

Managing director Jose Luiz Rossi said: ‘This is a big challenge and we are proud to be supporting the Daily Mail’s campaign to help those most in need. We have confirmed a matched funding donation of £100,000 and will be doubling any public donations made to this charity via The Big Give.’ Go to donate.thebiggive.org.uk

Cazoo 

Cazoo, which was founded in 2018, is the country’s leading online car retailer. The company has made a £12,500 donation to the campaign which was personally matched by its founder and chief executive, Alex Chesterman, pictured.

Mr Chesterman, who was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to digital entrepreneurship, said: ‘I hope our donation goes a little way to providing much-needed computer equipment and resources for pupils across the UK.

‘In today’s world a computer is an essential tool for every pupil and regular and easy access to one is equally important.

‘Schools cannot make this happen alone and I hope more businesses will back the campaign.’

Persimmon 

Founded in 1972, Persimmon is one of the UK’s biggest developers, building about 14,400 homes a year. The company has donated £250,000.

Chief executive Dean Finch said: ‘As the lockdown has gone on, we have all become increasingly concerned about the impact of missed education on children.

‘It has been remarkable how quickly so many schools and children have adapted to online learning during the pandemic.

‘But that only makes the divide between those who have the right equipment and those who don’t more concerning.’

Mr Finch added: ‘That’s why at Persimmon we are so happy to support the Mail’s campaign and do our bit to make sure every child in the country has access to the equipment they need.’

Barratt 

Barratt Developments, which has been building properties throughout Britain since the 1950s, has contributed £50,000 to the campaign.

Chief executive David Thomas said: ‘We are proud to support this vital campaign to help kids access education at such a challenging time.

‘It’s important that we help families struggling with remote learning so that we minimise the interruption to children’s education during their crucial formative years and Barratt is pleased to be a part of this fantastic Mail Force initiative, Computers for Kids.’

HOW TO DONATE TO COMPUTERS FOR KIDS 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE 

TO YOU, THE READER: How to send us donations 

The Daily Mail has launched a brand new campaign, Computers For Kids, to raise money for Mail Force – a charity which aims to provide much needed school equipment and resources for pupils across the UK learning from home.

With schools closed, we are left with the dilemma of hundreds of thousands of pupils in the UK having no access to a computer in their home.

As part of this campaign, companies are donating their old laptops which, for around £15, can be wiped, professionally refurbished and made safe and fit for home schooling. They can then be delivered to a child or young person who needs one.

In addition, the campaign is looking to support children’s needs in other ways such as funding brand new laptops and tablets, and assisting with data access and connectivity for online learning. Any surplus funds will be used to support of the work of UK schools via other means.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE

Visit mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate and follow the steps to complete your donation. 

Please don’t send us your old device.

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA YOUR PHONE

To donate £10 – text KIDS10 to 70115

To donate £20 – text KIDS20 to 70115 

TO COMPANIES: Could you give your old laptops?

Upgrading office computers is something all companies do from time to time – and there has never been a better time to donate old laptops. If you are a company with 50 laptops or more that you could give, please visit www.computacenter.com/daily-mail to check they are suitable and register your donation. We will arrange for collection by our specialist partners Computacenter. Please note: we cannot accept donated laptops from individuals.

COMPANIES SHOULD GO TO: computacenter.com/daily-mail 

TO SCHOOLS: Where to apply for the computers

Schools must apply to the Department for Education, which is managing the demand and prioritising the schools most in need. The Mail Force initiative means more laptops will become available more quickly.

SCHOOLS CAN APPLY HERE: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk

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