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From Mary Durcan Common Councillor for Cripplegate Ward

June 2020

Can you help?

My daughter in law is the Special Needs co-ordinator at a primary school in Hackney which has about 56% of its children qualifying for Free School Meals. In addition it provides meals for children from families which have no recourse to public funds.

I was concerned about the children without access to a computer/tablet/internet connection and whether the Government had provided this equipment as promised. Children are likely to receive online teaching for some time to come. Not only is the lack of IT equipment an issue but the removal of free bus fares for children is adding to the families’ financial pressures. I recently received this email from her.

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Dear Mary

There has been no guidance on the laptop situation for families. It’s been so frustrating. We’ve kind of given up and are focusing on getting them back to school, but for those who travel distances it’s really hard. These are often the families that have been “temporarily” housed (often due to private landlords selling up) out of borough with no idea when they may move again. We have families in Ilford, Enfield, Tottenham, Barking and many others. They are obviously concerned about travelling on public transport but also the change in rules around charging children to travel. For some this is going to be such a barrier. 

However a donation of tablets (ones the children can access the internet on) could be distributed to those in most need. The government honestly has no idea how some families are struggling right now.

Mary, thank you so much for thinking of our children, the families I work with demonstrate such resilience and all just want their children to succeed. 

Thank you

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I wanted to do something practical to help rather than read or talk about the issues so I’m asking you to help me pay for some tablets for these children. We need 20 but any number would help. I already have funding for 5. If you wish to purchase a 7” tablet (see photos below) I have found two that are suitable – both are about £40 to £50 (price varies). If you have them delivered to me I will arrange to deliver them to the school. They are available from Argos and Amazon but are often in short supply. If you would prefer to send a contribution (cash or a cheque (cheques payable to Mrs J M Durcan)) please deliver or send to:

Mary Durcan CC

48 Andrewes House, Barbican, London EC2Y 8AX

These children need all the help they can get having already missed so many months of schooling. I know how generous our residents can be and I hope that you are able to help, however small the contribution you can make.

Thank you so much.

Mary

Amazon Fire 7 Tablet 16 GB

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