Earlier this year, we announced additional support for UK charities worth more than £500,000 as part of our BNP Paribas UK Aid Plan, with the aim of helping disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated people impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
With our UK Personal Finance business located largely in Solihull, along with another part of BNP Paribas group, Arval, a vehicle leasing provider, the aid plan will also be making a difference on a more local level, in part through our donation to Teach First.
Teach First have been working closely with schools across the UK for over 15 years, helping them to build an educational environment that’s fair for all. In this time, the charity has placed more than 10,000 teachers in low-income areas and supported over one million pupils.
Our donation of £40,000 to the charity will fund laptops, dongles, and Wi-Fi access for over 100 children across three West Midlands-based schools.
As a direct result of our work with Teach First, the charity has also received additional support from one of our partners, Vodafone UK, who’ve generously donated 110 dongles. This has allowed it to purchase enough laptops and other equipment to supply two more schools.
Our donation to Teach First has come at a time of real uncertainty within the education system, and the blanket closure of UK schools has resulted in many children missing out on essential learning and development opportunities. For most, this has been replaced by homeschooling and virtual classes, however others are struggling at home without adequate access to online resources.
Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First commented: “During these challenging times homeschooling can be difficult for any family, but for households with limited online devices for learning those difficulties are even greater.
“We welcome this fantastic donation from BNP Paribas, helping children to learn without the barriers they were facing before.”
In these unprecedented times, Teach First recognise that vulnerable children from poorer backgrounds will be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to learning from home, with limited or no access to internet, printers and laptops.
A recent survey carried out by the charity found that only 2% of teachers in these disadvantaged schools believe that all of their pupils have the tools they need to access educational resources and online learning. As a result, they fear that the gap between rich and poor will widen, putting children’s future development at risk.
Teach First has therefore started putting initiatives in place to tackle this developing problem, providing catch-up support and helping schools by updating their programmes digitally. With support from businesses like BNP Paribas, they hope to prevent pupils from being shut out from their right to equal education.
Tracey Fuller, UK Head of CSR, BNP Paribas & Arval, said: “Ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education for all is extremely important to us - even more so during these incredibly tough times.
“We are delighted to support Teach First with this donation, knowing that pupils in some of the most disadvantaged communities across England will have access to the tools and online resources they need to stay connected to education, their teachers and their peers.”
As we begin to emerge out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, another crisis is beginning to unfold. In April alone, 171,540 young people in the West Midlands became unemployment claimants, and we are committed to helping tackle youth unemployment by supporting charities like Teach First, as well as through our work with our other partners such as Dallaglio RugbyWorks and Birmingham Young Professional of the Year.
To find out more about the wonderful work Teach First is doing to support young people during COVID-19, visit: https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/shut-in-not-shut-out