Killicomaine group offers pupils iPads for homework through Fibrus Community Fund
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HYPE Learning has been going since last September and currently offers 12 young people access to digital devices one day per week.
Keith McCann, project coordinator at Killicomaine Residents Group, said the free service was open to children of all abilities from P5 to P7 at the local primary school.
Children who attend have said it has helped them learn on a different level as most of them do not have access to computers or tablets in their home environment.
Killicomaine Homework Club has received £2k worth of funding from full fibre broadband provider Fibrus, via its Community Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation Northern Ireland.
The money has allowed six iPads to be purchased, giving children involved in the homework club access to the internet and digital services after school.
The homework club runs for two hours from 3pm to 5pm, and Mr McCann said that what it offers “could not be done without external support from companies like Fibrus”.
Sophie, who attends, said she enjoyed going and doing his/her homework in “a really friendly environment”. She added: “It’s really good to work with people, instead of having to do it at home. It’s much easier to research subjects online.”
Mr McCann said there was a huge demand for the service.
"Children in the area may not have internet or computers at home so at least we can now lend devices to do some homework in the short term,” he said.
HYPE, which is the umbrella term for the Killicomaine Residents’ project, stands for ‘helping young people excel’.
Mr McCann added that it was about giving local children support that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
“These kids deserve the best chance that we can give them,” he said.
“Our concept is learning through play. You don’t have to encourage kids to play, so that’s what you want them to do, while ensuring the work they do ties back to the national curriculum.”
The homework club has not only had a transformational impact on the group as a collective but also on an individual basis as well, according to the project coordinator.
“If you’re a parent trying to get a child to do homework that they don’t want to do it can be very difficult,” said Mr McCann.
“But if there’s another feasible option – namely, of coming here and having fun whilst doing it – it means they’re getting it done and that’s also helping to reduce tension in the home as well.”
Catriona Henry from Fibrus said its Community Fund, with the support of the Community Foundation NI, was created to help local people like those in the Killicomaine area.
"Ensuring that children like those who belong to the Killicomaine Homework Club have the same opportunities as their peers is why we created the Fibrus Community Fund. It’s fantastic to see how these iPads enhance the children’s learning experience, while they’re having fun with their friends.
"We partnered with the Community Foundation NI to help level the playing field for those who need more digital support, and we’re proud to be involved in enhancing young people’s lives in Northern Ireland through improved digital literacy and access.”
Fibrus recently announced that it had allocated the entirety of its annual £60k Community Fund in Northern Ireland ahead of schedule due to overwhelming demand. More than 70 projects have received grants to tackle digital poverty, benefitting nearly 14,000 people living in Northern Ireland, since the fund was launched in 2021.