Rigby Group

250 young people will receive individual laptops and free data to support their learning at home through an initiative between the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and SCC.  The young people from 12 RSC Associate Schools in Birmingham and Warwickshire will receive individual laptops and 12 months of free data per user to support the resilience of schools and young people through the challenges of the current academic year.  The equipment will ensure that students can access high quality learning and arts opportunities at home as well as in school.

The RSC’s network of over 250 Associate Schools around the country focusses on areas with limited access to arts learning opportunities, and often with a high proportion of students eligible for free school meals. The donation of laptop devices and data is in partnership with SCC, Europe’s biggest independent technology solutions provider with headquarters in Birmingham. The project is being funded by SCC’s charitable trust, which has long invested in causes relating to lifelong learning, health and education.

This project comes at a crucial time for many young people, who now rely more heavily on remote learning and digital access in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families do not have regular or easy access to computers, mobile tablets or broadband connectivity in their homes.

Headteacher at Nelson Mandela School, Birmingham said: “I cannot begin to say how much this generous gift and act of kindness means to me as a headteacher, but more importantly for our children. I have been so concerned about the impact of digital poverty on the lives of our children and families not only the growing academic divide but also on their feelings of isolation. This gift really will change lives but also reinforces just how sharing our worries can lead to change. Thank you so much to the RSC and SCC’s charitable trust for making this happen. A much-needed light in these challenging times.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education said: “This is one of the most challenging times to be in education, either as a teacher or student. The ability of schools and families to adapt quickly and easily to the changing context is being constantly tested. This wonderful gift from SCC’s charitable trust means that 250 children will be able to access online learning opportunities wherever they are, and ensure they are acquiring important new skills along the way. The next few months continue to be uncertain, but these young people will have the right tools to keep on progressing and developing, supported both by technology and the talents of their dedicated teachers.”  

Sir Peter Rigby, Founder and Executive Chairman of Rigby Group, SCC’s parent company, said: “On behalf of the Group I can’t express how pleased we are to be able to support such a wonderful and life-changing initiative. Digital access is critical both for online learning and to develop digital skills that are becoming more and more important as technology innovation continues in the workplace.”

Mike Swain, SCC UK CEO, said: “The impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the requirement for us all to be more reliant on digital access and it’s easy to forget that this is a privilege not afforded to everyone. We hope this donation through our charitable trust to children in Birmingham and Warwickshire will improve their learning experience and help them to unleash their potential.”

Schools receiving with gift from SCC include:

In Stratford-upon-Avon:             Welcombe Hills

In Leamington Spa:                   Sydenham Primary, Lighthorne Heath Primary

In Warwick:                               Newburgh Primary School

In Birmingham:                          Nelson Mandela School, Anderton Park Primary School, Clifton Primary School, Greet Primary School, Conway Primary School, Percy Shurmer Academy, Montgomery Primary Academy, Arden Primary School