Virgin Media has today launched a new initiative to help home learners and families facing financial difficulty during the national lockdown.

Through a package of devices and data, building on existing measures already in place, Virgin Media is stepping up efforts to support families across the country to ensure they have the tools and connectivity needed to take part in remote learning while schools remain closed.

The Help for Home Learners’ initiative which will provide 1,500 laptops and mobile dongles to disadvantaged schoolchildren across the UK.

As part of its comprehensive support package, Virgin Media is partnering with the charity Business in the Community to fund and distribute 1,500 laptops and mobile dongles to schoolchildren and young adults in the UK who are struggling to learn virtually. Each laptop will come with a 4G dongle containing 25GB of data per month (that will initially be available for two months), which is simply plugged into the device to get home learners instantly connected to teachers, educational tools and online classes.

It comes as England rugby star, Maro Itoje, has been calling on businesses to do what they can to support families in need in order to close the ‘digital divide’. Virgin Media has been inspired by Maro’s campaign and is proud to stand with him on supporting schoolchildren across the nation during this challenging time.

Maro Itoje, England International rugby player, said:

“My ask was simple – step up and be counted. Virgin Media has done just that, acting swiftly to address all points of concern to guarantee children across the UK have access to vital learning during school closures and the company should be congratulated for that. Without the closing of this deficit, the social divide only broadens, making reintegration into the classroom environment near-impossible for the most deprived.”

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been supporting our customers and helping to close the digital gap for those most in need.

“Remote learning can be tough enough without the added pressures and worry of affording devices and connectivity, so we wanted to step up and lend a hand. Our Help for Home Learners initiative will put devices and data into the hands of schoolchildren which, alongside free data boosts and our dedicated Essential broadband package, will mean more pupils can continue their education while schools are closed.”

Eligibility checks for Virgin Media laptops for schoolchildren are carried out by DfE with the 20GB of mobile data added to a customer’s account by Virgin Mobile at no extra cost within 24 to 48 hours. More information is available from the Department for Education’s website.