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Asda has partnered with Dell Technologies to provide 7,000 laptops to schools across the UK to help children at risk of falling behind in their education because of the pandemic.

The retailer said it wanted to help children lacking the technology to take part in online lessons during lockdown.

It is investing £2m so that every Asda store in the UK can donate at least 10 laptops to a school in need in their local community.

Each laptop will come with a tech bundle including a headset and a mobile internet dongle with a data allowance of 20GB from Asda’s network partner Vodafone.

The dongle and data allowance has been funded by a separate £500,000 contribution from the retailer’s charity arm, The Asda Foundation.

Laptops will also include a one-year warranty and technical support.

Asda pointed to research from Ofcom suggesting around 9% of children in the UK – between 1.1 million and 1.8 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home.

Each Asda store will nominate a nearby primary or secondary school with a large proportion of families struggling to support home learning.

“It’s clear that digital exclusion is an issue affecting many thousands of children who attend schools in communities that we serve,” said Asda CEO Roger Burnley.

“These children have been disproportionately affected by the lockdown and are at risk of falling further behind their peers. We want to do all we can to help break down the digital barriers so they can continue their education remotely.”

Dayne Turbitt, senior VP and general manager for Dell Technologies in the UK, said: “Digital exclusion is a growing global and societal issue, which is significantly impacting the UK as a result of the most recent national lockdown.

“By working alongside Asda, we can help champion digital inclusion for young people across the country.”

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