AJ Bell is donating 144 digital tablets to 12 OnSide Youth Zones across the UK, along with a £10,000 cash donation. The tablets will be used to support summer holiday clubs at the Youth Zones as they re-open their doors following the easing of lockdown restrictions. The focus will be on helping to re-engage young people with education, particularly numeracy and literacy, in the run up to schools reopening in September.
The tablets are being provided by the AJ Bell Wage War on Covid fund which was set up by the investment platform as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis. Staff at AJ Bell gave up part or all of their wages for April, May and June with additional donations coming from AJ Bell customers, financial advisers and the AJ Bell charitable trust.
Initially the focus of the digital tablet initiative was care homes and hospitals, where AJ Bell donated over 600 devices to help residents connect with their families and friends who were unable to visit during lockdown. The focus is now shifting to Youth Zones which have been unable to open their doors during lockdown but are now re-opening to provide younger people with a vital focus over the summer months while many of their normal activities remain restricted.
Youth Zones are designed to give young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with a disability, somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to – occupying their bodies and minds with engaging activities, helping them develop new skills and socialise in a safe, positive and accessible environment.
Under normal circumstances, more than 50,000 members make over 600,000 visits to OnSide Youth Zones every year, attracting young people from the most disadvantaged communities.
Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, comments:
“OnSide’s Youth Zones play an incredibly important role and this will be even more vital this summer as many of the activities that would occupy young people remain restricted. Youth Zones can give them a positive focus and enable them to develop new skills and relationships in a safe environment that gives them access to a wide range of activities and opportunities. We hope the digital tablets will enhance this experience with a particular focus on learning and education in the run up to schools reopening, as well as plenty of fun along the way.”
OnSide Youth Zones chief executive Kathryn Morley said:
“This is an incredible gesture by AJ Bell. OnSide Youth Zones provide young people with a large array of activities and facilities. These digital tablets will be a great addition to some of the more physical activities we offer and will also enable us to greater enhance our digital offer which has been so important this year. Our thanks go out to all AJ Bell staff, customers and advisers who donated to the Wage War on Covid fund and made this possible.”
Cheyenne Cheeatow and children from Legacy Youth Zone in Croydon using the digital tablets donated by AJ Bell.