- Energy company Drax is delivering laptops with prepaid internet access to schools and colleges local to its operations across Britain, to ensure students can continue with their studies during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Six schools, a local college and an educational trust in Suffolk will receive 129 of the Drax HP Chromebook laptops with pre-paid dongles.
- Drax Group’s Haven Power is a cornerstone employer in Ipswich and works alongside partners to improve social mobility and skills in the area.
With schools and colleges closed, many children whose families do not own a computer are finding it difficult to access learning resources.
To ensure no child is left behind, Drax has invested £250,000 in a total of 853 new laptops and each one has three months of pre-paid internet access via a 30GB dongle to support their learning over the summer term. The laptops are being delivered to Drax’s partner schools, local to its operations across Britain as part of the energy company’s efforts to support its communities during the lockdown.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:
“We’re very happy to help people in our communities by providing our partner schools with the technology they need to get more students connected online so they can keep learning during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.”
Laptops have been provided to six schools, a local college and an educational trust in Suffolk, including:
- Ipswich Academy
- Chantry Academy
- Thomas Wolsey SEND School
- Copleston High School
- Suffolk New College
- St Alban’s Catholic High School
- One Sixth-Form
- Raedwald Trust
Victoria Addis, Careers Leader Ipswich Academy, said:
“This donation will make a huge difference to our students. Many have unfortunately been unable to access devices or the internet since the lockdown started which has put them at a disadvantage.
“As we stay apart during this period, it is important for our pupils to stay connected to their teachers and fellow students by having computers and internet access at home. We are incredibly grateful for Drax for their support in helping bring our school community together.”
Tom Hunt MP for Ipswich said:
“This initiative to get disadvantaged families the resources they need has my full support. I’m so pleased to see 129 laptops are now being distributed to school children in Ipswich and the wider Suffolk area to help continue their studies and stay connected to their friends.
“What we do during this outbreak will be remembered and the support Drax is providing to the local community is highly appreciated.”
Jordan Holder, Ipswich Enterprise Coordinator for the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“I’ve always been astonished by the commitment Haven Power & Drax Group make to schools and the local community in Ipswich through volunteering their time and they have went above and beyond to support learners with this much needed equipment.
“Coronavirus has revealed the scale of the digital divide between many families. Haven Power has not just gifted some IT equipment to disadvantaged pupils, it has given those students a lifeline to an education they would have been denied for simply being less well-off than their peers in a time of crisis.”
Top image caption: Damian Cwyl, Year 10 pupil at St Alban’s Catholic High School, with his new Drax laptop.
- Drax is a founding member of the C-19 Business Pledge, a national scheme which encourages employers to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities to get through the crisis.
- The 853 laptops and dongles will be delivered to Drax’s partner schools and colleges local to its operations. Head teachers will then distribute the technology to pupils identified as requiring support.
Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030.
Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
- Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
- Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk