July 2, 2021
“This isn’t something that’s just going to go away when COVID has passed.”
This session by the business networking group B4 was the chance to hear from schools and community outreach organisations about the continued problem of digital exclusion.
B4’s Business Brunch sessions bring together local companies to discuss issues of importance in Oxfordshire. B4 kindly invited Getting Oxfordshire Online Project Manager Olwen Lintern-Smyth to host a session featuring insightful interviews with Charley Eaglestone from Bayards Hill Primary School; Rob Pavey from Cheney School; Pat Coomber-Wood from Citizens Advice Banbury; John Dennis from Aspire; and John Keston-Hole from Oxford University.
The session provided the opportunity to hear from local schools about the impact of the pandemic on those children who did not have access to a laptop or the internet during lockdown and home schooling.
Pat Coomber-Wood gave an insight into the picture for older people in the county, who have found themselves increasingly isolated as the move online for essential services has accelerated hugely during the pandemic.
The interviews highlighted how, by working together, some of these issues can be tackled. For example, John Dennis, IT Manager at local charity Aspire, explained how he has set up one of the first refurbishment hubs for Getting Oxfordshire Online, which is now accepting donations of laptops to be revamped and provided to disadvantaged members of the community.
John Keston-Hole, IT Officer at All Souls College, Oxford, described how Oxford University is donating IT equipment to support the refurbishment effort.