Over the last 12 months, we've all become accustomed to moving our lives increasingly online. Through the various lockdowns across the UK, we've celebrated birthdays online, learnt new skills in video workshops and conducted innumerable meetings on Zoom (some more successfully than others!
But for us of haven't been so lucky. An Ofcom report from 2020 estimates between 1.m and 1.8m children do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. In the UK, lockdown and the closure of schools has revealed the scale of the digital divide, and many of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children have been cut off due to a lack of the right equipment.
When it came time to decide what to do with some of our older hardware and IT equipment, we knew that we wanted to support our local community and got in touch with Little Lives UK to make a donation to their campaign.
As a tech scale up, it's important we give our teams the equipment they need to do their jobs well. While we reuse and reallocate where we can, this means that our laptops have a limited lifecycle and sometimes need to be replaced with a newer spec.
Over the years, that's left us with equipment that is no longer up to the demands of one of the fastest-growing startups in the UK, but that are (after a bit of TLC!) are perfectly capable of connecting families who have been separated through covid or allowing school children to access learning resources.
We decided to investigate whether we could put the IT equipment to good use by donating to someone in need.
Little Lives UK are a London based charity whose primary focus is to help children in London who are disabled or disadvantaged. Their work extends well beyond the laptop donations, with grassroots projects covering a broad range of issues across London.
Having been based in North London since our CEO Anthony Eskinaszi started JustPark back in 2006, we were inspired by Little Lives' mission to ease the stresses felt by children and those caring for them by enabling them to reach their full potential.
After being wiped and reformatted, we packaged up three boxes of laptops ready for donation. Little Lives UK arranged a collection from the office and whisked the laptops away for refurbishment and redistribution. Over the coming months, they'll be allocated to school and families who are otherwise unable to get online.
Covid has raised so many challenges and we're proud to be able to give back to our communities, whether with our latest donation, our #parkingforhealthcare campaign to provide the NHS with free parking during the COVID-19 pandemic or the volunteering work many of our team do in their own time.
Over the next few months, we'll be launching a number of new programmes and partnerships that will allow our team to share their skills, knowledge and time with those in need.
With the end of lockdown in sight and with the vaccine roll out hopefully signally the light at the end of the Covid tunnel, we're working to make sure the sense of global community that has inspired us over the last year continues in our every day actions at JustPark.
Inspired by the work Little Lives UK is doing? Make a donation here