The second lockdown was a big blow for school children already trying to catch up on lost learning, so we talked to local schools to find out how we could help.
The result was the Coventry Building Society Numeracy Fund – a £50,000 grants pot for Coventry primary schools to support projects to improve numeracy for their pupils. 31 schools are using the funds for a wide range of initiatives ranging from one to one tutoring to online learning resources to playground equipment.
The lack of suitable IT equipment has also been a big problem, so we donated 47 laptops to help children succeed in their home learning. The laptops were divided amongst 18 primary schools, and they’ve been used by pupils learning at home.
Jen Goode, Headteacher of Longford Park Primary School said: “I wish I could have videoed our families’ responses when I telephoned them to say that we have laptops available. This gift of devices is very much welcomed so that the children can access their daily online learning. Simply Thank You on behalf of my school.”
Normally we’d like to be out and about in our communities, doing things like reading with schoolchildren and helping to sort donations in the foodbank, but of course that’s impossible right now. Instead we’ve been doing what we can in other ways, including through pledges and donations to charities that are helping our communities during the pandemic. We’ve donated:
We also raised £8,000 for the local hospital ‘Super hero’ fund and supported the Home Office ‘You are not alone’ domestic abuse campaign and donated £15,000 to the Women’s Refuge Coventry Haven. And we've pledged to match everything raised (up to £5,000) for our heartland hospital University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
In the first lockdown, as many schoolchildren got to grips with working from home, we'd been in touch with a local primary school to discuss the challenges they're facing and how we could help. They told us that electronic learning isn’t an option for many of their families, and the children had completed the work they’d initially sent home, leaving them with little to do. Their caring staff were getting concerned about some of the year groups and the impact this was having on their education.
We offered them £1000 to help pay for maths and English workbooks to be sent out to all the children who needed them. We also worked on a plan to get stationery and notebooks from our suppliers - our colleagues volunteered to put the packs together, and the schools delivered them to their students.
Our colleague Aaron Kirkham from the IT department has completed the Three Peaks Challenge since we went into lockdown. Don’t worry, he’s not been outside doing any non-essential trekking about and worrying the mountain rescue teams. He hasn’t even left his house to do it.
Aaron ingeniously worked out how many steps it would have taken him to climb up and down those three famous peaks, and instead did the same number up and down his stairs. Raising over £600 for his local hospital University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, Aaron’s fundraising was then matched by Coventry Building Society.