A PENARTH resident has launched a campaign aiming to tackle the issue of computer access for children across the Vale.

Andrew Smillie, who is also co-founder of Penarth Sounds, came up with the Vale of Glamorgan Laptops for Kids initiative after thinking of ways in which he could help his community during these tough times.

He turns unwanted laptops into easy-to-use ChromeBooks as he is “not bad with computers”, and with help from the Vale of Glamorgan Council they are then distributed to families that do not have access to this technology at home.

“I have three kids at home, so I know how difficult home-schooling can be," he said.

“Sometimes I despair at the government’s priorities, and how they are, or aren’t, making sure that no child is put at too much of a disadvantage during this time.

Penarth Times: Sound engineer and Penarth Sounds co-founder Andrew SmillieSound engineer and Penarth Sounds co-founder Andrew Smillie

“I figured that a lot of people, like me, would have old laptops lying around their house gathering dust”.

Since last week, Mr Smillie has taken delivery of around 30-40 laptops – around 25 are usable.

Last year, during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh Government made up to £3million available to support digitally excluded learners in maintained schools where there was no existing provision in place from their school or local authority.

A digitally excluded learner is defined as ‘a learner who does not have access to an appropriate internet connected device to engage in online learning activities from home’.

If you want to donate an old laptop you have, preferably with a webcam so it is recent enough to refurbish, head to https://www.facebook.com/VoGLaptopsForKids.