Computer give-away labelled a success

A GOVERNMENT drive to make computers and the internet more accessible to the county's low-income families has been extended due to the initiative's success.

A GOVERNMENT drive to make computers and the internet more accessible to the county's low-income families has been extended due to the initiative's success.

Since the launch of the scheme in February, which is only being piloted in Suffolk and Oldham, more than 7,000 applicants have benefited from free IT equipment.

Now, ministers have announced an extension to the funding until July 31, allowing more families to sign up.

Councillor Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk Council's portfolio holder for Children, Schools and Young People's Services, said: “Children at school do so much with computers now those who don't have access at home can lose out.

“I'm very pleased that Suffolk children will be the first to have this opportunity - it is very much part of all our efforts to ensure that Suffolk children get the very best start in life.”

The �300 million Home Access programme aims to deliver equal learning opportunities to the 35 per cent of families that currently have no access to the internet at home.

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The pilots will refine and test the process for awarding grants for computing packages before the planned national roll out in late autumn.

Stephen Crowne, chief executive of Becta, the government agency leading the drive, added: “Home Access is an exciting programme and we are delighted to be piloting the scheme with Suffolk County Council.

“Part of Becta's Next Generation Learning campaign, Home Access will ensure every learner has an equal chance to tap into the benefits of the internet to enhance their learning.”

Have you benefited from the scheme? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk