THE boss of a major firm in the borough has bought hundreds of laptops to donate to children who need IT equipment for home schooling.
Chris Rea, of worldwide seal manufacturer AESSEAL, paid for 487 laptops out of his own pocket and donated 99 used laptops from within his firm to help pupils with no access to IT equipment.
The Templeborough firm has already donated £400,000 to the Laptops for Kids initiative and it estimates its combined donations will meet around half the estimated need for laptops in Rotherham as well as connecting around 10,000 households across South Yorkshire to the internet via dongles.
Mr Rea, pictured taking delivery of the computers, said: “I would like to offer particular thanks to Wicresoft, who have sold me 487 laptops at cost, for both their professionalism and commitment to the community.
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“We would also like to encourage others to contribute to this initiative as we need an educated and engaged workforce in the future.”
Paul Wike, of Wicresoft, said: “We have worked in partnership [with AESSEAL] to supply them with IT infrastructure solutions and services, including laptops for their workforce of 1,200 people, for the last 11 years.
“When we heard that Mr Rea was donating funds to help children who do not have access to a laptop during the current pandemic, which is preventing them from being able to be educated remotely, we were delighted to assist in such an important and worthwhile cause.
“We were able to source and supply 487 laptops at cost, with no admin fee from ourselves, to enable Mr Rea to get the maximum number of devices possible with the funds available.”
The firm estimated how many laptops were needed across the borough by extrapolating survey data from Sheffield schools.
AESSEAL manufactures mechanical seals and support systems and operates in 230 locations around the world.
Disadvantaged students at Rotherham College and University Centre Rotherham, part of RNN Group, have also been given free laptops.
To date, the group has distributed 592 laptops alongside 200 sim cards with hotspots to ensure those who don’t have access to Wi-Fi can access the internet.