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Thousands raised for New Forest schools' home-study laptops




Playing it Covid-safe are deputy head of Burley Primary School Annette Allies and Colin Hobbs from Burley Players
Playing it Covid-safe are deputy head of Burley Primary School Annette Allies and Colin Hobbs from Burley Players

THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised across the New Forest to help fill the shortage of laptops for pupils studying at home.

Among the fundraisers was Burley Players amateur theatre group which donated £350 from the proceeds of its last show in January 2020.

Spokesperson Sandy Simpson said: “We always donate part of our proceeds to local charities and although we weren’t able to go ahead with our panto this year we had some money left over which we felt could benefit Burley Primary School.

“We contacted the school and they told us the priority was buying Chromebooks for children who don’t have access to a computer to use during the lockdown. Afterwards these will be returned to school as an extra classroom resource.”

The 45-strong amateur group, which includes children as young as five, are still hopeful they can stage a summer production in early July.

A further £8,000 has been given by Hythe and Dibden councillors to Waterside schools.

They decided to pool the remaining funds from their annual district council community grants to pay for extra equipment.

Parish council chairman Cllr Malcolm Wade, who is also a Liberal Democrat county councillor, added his grant from HCC.

He said: “At our regular online meetings of the council, expressions of shock and frustration were made by all councillors when it was clear that not all our local schools were able to supply laptops to children who were unable to access lessons, or only in a limited way via a phone.

“We felt the situation was so serious and the future so uncertain that some action needed to be taken urgently.

“We are fully aware that the Department for Education are funding laptops for local schools but even they have been either slow or unable to supply all the equipment that had been requested, hence our desire to help plug the gap.”

Among the schools receiving help were Orchards Infant, Hythe Primary, Waterside Primary, Oak Lodge, Noadswood and Applemore College.



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