Tech superheroes rescue home schooling

March 29 2021

Some of the donated devices for Emersons Green children

Some of the donated devices for Emersons Green children

A GROUP of IT professionals living in the Emersons Green area helped children and schools to keep learning through the recent lockdown.
Tech Buddies started when Andy Yam decided to offer free tech support to parents, when the majority of children were told they would have to learn from home again in January.
He said: “When the government announced that we were going into lockdown for a third time, and that the earliest point the kids would be returning to school would be after the February half term, I wanted to somehow support others in this tough time.”
Remembering that friends had asked him for tech support in previous lockdowns, Andy posted a message on his Facebook page offering to help parents get their children online, and shared the offer through the group Lyde Green Local.
He said: “I was inundated with messages from friends, their friends, and also parents from the Lyde Green group.
“People were messaging me needing help, wanting to help and also wanting to donate devices.”
As the demand and offers grew, Andy created a Facebook group called Tech Buddies.
More than 10 technicians volunteered to help, and over time a core group of seven worked on a voluntary basis to repurpose laptops and PCs.
Companies and individuals donated more than 100 devices, from laptops and tablets to 40 PCs, which were taken to schools to refresh their IT suites.
Andy and his fellow Tech Buddies, including Adam Harrison, Adam Walter, Ian Marshall, and Jon Adams, decided to donate the devices directly to schools, so they could distribute them to the families who most needed them.
The team supported Lyde Green Primary School and Mangotsfield School in the local area, as well as Hambrook Primary School, Manor Primary School and Little Explorers Nursery in Coalpit Heath, Redcliffe Nursery School and the play team at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The group had help from Kate Liverton of the Facebook group Covid-19 Help, Support and Volunteering - Emersons Green & Lyde Green, town councillor Matt Palmer, who helped fund some of the repairs, Ash Phillips of business support firm Dffrnt, who designed the logo, and Alicia Teagle, of recruitment firm SR2, who helped source devices from other companies.
When the project wound up as children returned to school, Andy sold leftover parts and non-working devices, donating the £350 proceeds to Cancer Research UK.