Connecting the disconnected


One of the first prompts you get when you plug in your brand new laptop is “Let’s connect you to a network”… But for some people, that’s not as straightforward as it sounds.

A big disconnect between theory and reality

Online education while schools are closed sounds good in theory. But one of the big challenges we keep coming across in Lambeth is that many people simply don’t have access to it.

As a result of not having computer equipment or broadband at home, some young people are unable to do any online learning at all. Others are trying to use their mobile phones without WiFi. At CHIPS, we believe that neither is acceptable.

Solutions needed

That’s why we’re seeking funds for laptops and mobile WiFi systems so that children can keep up with their education. We’ve applied for a grant that would help us provide this type of support and, meanwhile, we’re buying laptops and modems for those in most urgent need.

We delivered our first laptops and 4G WiFi modem packages in Brixton this week. One family in question didn’t have a laptop or any internet access at home and the eldest child, a year 10 student, was in danger of falling behind without it. The Vice Principal of the school said:

“Teachers report that the pupil was actively and excitedly online today. This is the best thing that’s happened during lockdown!”

Another household received their delivery yesterday and thanked our family worker during their weekly support call, explaining that because they are on universal credit they simply couldn’t imagine doing it themselves.   

Paul, our Co-Director (Programmes) at CHIPS says: “Doing something seemingly small like this now could actually have a significant impact on a child’s learning and development.” 

Can I help?

If, like us, you think this situation is unacceptable and would like to do something to help we suggest that you could:

  • Contact your councillor to understand the situation in your area and ask for their support in getting it on the local agenda.
  • If you have a laptop you aren’t using, contact a local school you’re connected to and ask if they can put it to better use.
  • If you can donate a laptop to our work in Brixton, or contribute to the cost of buying new equipment and WiFi access, we urgently need support and you can contact us at

Paul delivering computer equipment to a family this week