A free computer programme in Salford, run by Sovereign House, teaches children key life skills and prepares them for ‘the real world’.
Irene Lockett, the founder of the charity, started the classes after discovering that many households in Salford do not own a computer.
“I found out some of the children don’t even have computers at home, I’m thinking ‘come on this is 21stcentury England’” she said.
The classes take place at Langworthy Cornerstone on Tuesdays and Fridays and are aimed at children aged 7-14.
More than 40 students attend the programme, with around 70 on the waiting list. The lessons are run by specialist teachers alongside volunteers who support the children and adhere to their needs.
Irene said: “We go at the child’s pace, if the child is learning fast we let them fly, if they are slower we walk with them. It’s important that we empower them.”
The charity hopes to fulfil the needs of many more children, by running an extra class.
However, this is not currently possible due to a lack of volunteers.
Around 20 people are currently working on the programme, however an increase in volunteers would allow the children to have more one to one help when required.
“When you see a child’s eyes light up because they have come to understand the work, that’s a reward. There is no monetary value to anybody who is volunteering, the reward is to see the children doing well.”
The children who attend the classes, thoroughly enjoy them and gain social, technical and many other new skills. One child said: “I didn’t know computers could be so fun”.
Another child benefited academically from the programme and is now top of her class.
The programme is mainly funded by public donations; however, they have received a small amount of help from Salford Council, Salford CVS and the National Lottery.