Stone Group has been named an approved supplier of PCs for the Government’s Home Access programme, which brings free computers to underprivileged children.
Stone – already a key provider of IT products to the public sector – is partnering with internet service provider Orange to offer PC and broadband connectivity packages worth up to £520, which can be bought at Orange’s High Street stores.
The firms join the likes of Comet, TMobile and Misco in becoming part of the Home Access scheme, which the Government launched in January. It offers families with children in school years three to nine (aged around seven to 14), who are entitled to free school meals, the chance to apply for a grant to buy a computer and broadband connection. Children in care or with special needs up to the age of 18 are also eligible.
Families awarded the grant are given a pre-paid debit card that can be used towards purchasing a package only from approved retailers.
Simon Pettit, contracts director at Stone Group, told PCR: “We are delighted to have been appointed as an approved supplier of the Home Access scheme and are proud to be helping provide low-income families with the IT equipment they need to aid their education.
"As recent research shows, 82 per cent of schools are facing ICT budget cuts this year. Therefore, initiatives such as the Home Access drive are increasingly important in today’s technology-focused curriculum to ensure all children, regardless of their financial situation, have access to additional IT learning resources outside of the classroom.”
Through the programme, approved suppliers are granted a licence to supply Home Access packages and accept the Home Access Grant as payment.