Macnamara ICT Partners with Rio Ferdinand Foundation to Address Digital Inequality

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation has teamed up with IT provider Macnamara ICT to enhance its employability programmes and improve access to technology for young people living in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities.

The digital divide is growing. 42% of young people are not adequately connected, and with 1 in 5 young people in the UK unable to access an appropriate device to enable them to home-school during the pandemic, more needs to be done * Digital Poverty Alliance.

With each new technological development, the digital divide deepens, and partnerships like Rio Ferdinand Foundation and Macnamara ICT are essential in providing the means for young people to stay connected, gain the necessary digital skills, and progress in education and employment.

As part of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s commitment to creating opportunities and pathways for young people, the charity has teamed up with Southwark-based Macnamara to provide refurbished laptops and IT equipment to young people and community groups in under-resourced areas across the UK.

Grove Park Youth Club

The first batch of laptops was delivered on the 27th October 2022 to the Grove Park Youth Club in Lewisham to provide an IT Suite to support our new training programme. Further deliveries are expected in Manchester and Belfast in the coming weeks. Prior to delivery each laptop was wiped in full compliance with GDPR requirements and reconfigured using open-source software as part of our commitment to safeguard young people.

Laptops were provided to Grove Park Youth Club in Lewisham
Refurbished laptops were delivered to Grove Park Youth Club

“Grove Park Youth Club young people will benefit greatly knowing they have an IT suite that allows them safe access online in a mentored environment for both study and leisure. It is a great achievement to restore such facility at our youth club that was removed in 2013 due to cuts to youth services. We look forward to the generous support offered by Macnamara ICT and our partners Rio Ferdinand Foundation.”

Rob Clayton, Chair Grove Park Youth Club

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Geoff Courts MD at the Grove Park Youth Club launch

Macnamara maintains a focus on data protection and sees an opportunity, through the training elements of this program, to raise awareness amongst young people about the surprising ways in which data can persist. It is now more important than ever that young people learn about the value of their own data and the risks involved in the misuse of personal data.

Many young people have limited access to technology, with families often sharing a single device or having no devices for learning. This partnership champions digital inclusion, delivering IT equipment to the young people that need it most.

The partnership will enhance the charities digital skills offer, enabling programme participants to continue their learning of digital skills outside of sessions and undertake training courses online. The young people in receipt of the IT equipment will also have the means to write CVs, apply for jobs, and explore educational progression.

Throughout the pandemic and into the new era of blended learning and delivery, it became clear that access to IT hardware and WIFI are critical in delivering opportunities and education to young people.

Foundation CEO Gary Stannett said:
“These laptops and other equipment will provide an important infrastructure for young people on our projects to be able to access online learning and educational programmes, research and write homework projects and learn IT and digital tech skills as part of our ongoing employability projects. We are very grateful to the team at Macnamara for bringing this initiative to us that not only gives a new and important lease of life to unwanted computers but also takes that hardware and new opportunities where they are needed most.”

The laptops have been wiped to comply with GDPR obligations and re-installed with open-source software

Macnamara Director, Ciaran Kenny added:
“We’re delighted to team up with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation on this project. Treatment of end-of-life equipment is too often handled as an afterthought in our industry. Both for ourselves and our clients it is exciting to find a way to manage the whole life cycle: from purchase to secure wipe through to re-use. For the young people involved, we see this not only as providing access to hardware and applications but as a route to raising awareness of both environmental and security issues. And, for our technical team, the opportunity to work with a dynamic, youth-oriented organisation like RFF is a bonus.”

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The laptops are used to deliver leadership training to young people by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation team

If you are interested in knowing more about this project please Contact Us

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