Camelot sends the Mail Force computers for kids campaign fund soaring

£5m in just one week! National Lottery operator Camelot’s fantastic £1million sends the Mail Force computers for kids campaign fund soaring

  • National Lottery’s offer to match reader donations sent campaign soaring 
  • Donations have already topped £800,000 in a phenomenal start for the effort
  • Some £5million has been raised and thousands of computers pledged so far
  • Yesterday the first Mail Force laptops were placed in the hands of students

Mail Force hit the jackpot yesterday with a thumping £1million donation from Camelot.

The National Lottery operator’s awesome offer to match reader donations sent the campaign to get laptops to lockdown pupils soaring.

In less than a week, £5million has been raised and thousands of computers pledged – and this is just the beginning.

Cheques, online payments and text and phone donations from the Mail’s generous readers have already topped £800,000, meaning Camelot’s pledge to match up to £1million will soon be taken up in full.

It caps a phenomenal start for the Computers for Kids campaign – which was only launched last Saturday.

The National Lottery operator’s awesome offer to match reader donations sent the campaign to get laptops to lockdown pupils soaring. Pictured, James Taylor, the Deputy Principle at Hammersmith and Fulham college takes delivery of 300 laptops

And just six days into the drive, yesterday the first Mail Force laptops were placed in the hands of grateful students.

Art student Daria Nicu, 17, said: ‘Thank you. What Daily Mail readers have done is really a wonderful thing.’ Twenty state-of-the-art Surface 2 Go Windows devices were added to a consignment of nearly 300 Dell machines given to West London College in Hammersmith by the Government, in a test run of our scheme to top up schools’ allocations.

The college’s deputy principal James Taylor said: ‘They are a godsend.’




TO YOU, THE READER: How to send us donations 

The Daily Mail has launched a brand new campaign, Computers For Kids, to raise money for Mail Force – a charity which aims to provide much needed school equipment and resources for pupils across the UK learning from home.

With schools closed, we are left with the dilemma of hundreds of thousands of pupils in the UK having no access to a computer in their home.

As part of this campaign, companies are donating their old laptops which, for around £15, can be wiped, professionally refurbished and made safe and fit for home schooling. They can then be delivered to a child or young person who needs one.

In addition, the campaign is looking to support children’s needs in other ways such as funding brand new laptops and tablets, and assisting with data access and connectivity for online learning. Any surplus funds will be used to support of the work of UK schools via other means.


Visit and follow the steps to complete your donation. 

Please don’t send us your old device.


To donate £10 – text KIDS10 to 70115

To donate £20 – text KIDS20 to 70115 

TO COMPANIES: Could you give your old laptops?

Upgrading office computers is something all companies do from time to time – and there has never been a better time to donate old laptops. If you are a company with 50 laptops or more that you could give, please visit to check they are suitable and register your donation. We will arrange for collection by our specialist partners Computacenter. Please note: we cannot accept donated laptops from individuals.


TO SCHOOLS: Where to apply for the computers

Schools must apply to the Department for Education, which is managing the demand and prioritising the schools most in need. The Mail Force initiative means more laptops will become available more quickly.


Mail Force is working in partnership with the Government to boost its own programme to help schoolchildren stuck at home without a device to access their online lessons.

Some of the UK’s biggest companies have also signed up, pledging both cash and second-hand laptops, which for around £15 can be refurbished for school use.

Mail Force will also seek alternative sources of new devices to complement the Department for Education’s drive, and will fund other ways to assist children with e-learning.

Yesterday Nigel Railton, Camelot’s chief executive, said: ‘National Lottery players have been fundamental to the national effort, with more than £800million in funding directed to good causes supporting people through the pandemic.

‘Hundreds of volunteers and projects have responded with brilliant initiatives to lend a hand with everything from tackling loneliness to delivering food parcels, while National Lottery retailers have kept their doors open to serve communities.

‘Separately, at Camelot, we have been fortunate to be in a position to have provided office space to the NHS, backed local charities and are now delighted to be able to support Mail Force’s hugely important Computers for Kids campaign by committing to match-fund the amount raised by Daily Mail readers, up to £1million. Amazing things happen when we all work together and this campaign is yet another incredible example of that.’

Camelot’s donation is from the company’s own coffers – and not from lottery cash earmarked to good causes.

Bonnie Steer, a Camelot contact centre agent, added: ‘The way we now helping the nation’s schoolchildren throughout the pandemic makes me so proud.’

Mail Force’s Computers for Kids drive has been backed by fashion reta

Lloyds Banking Group, Sainsbury’s, Direct Line insurance group, the online fashion retailer Boohoo and innovation firm Peak Scientific.

In an extraordinary week, many other leading UK businesses have been in touch to ask how to donate laptops. Second-hand company devices are securely wiped by our IT specialist partner, before being reconfigured for schools’ use.

A third of families in the UK say they do not have enough devices for their children to learn online, and schools are shut until March 8 at the earliest.

The Department for Education has thrown itself into the challenge, buying 1.3 million laptops, of which nearly 900,000 have already been distributed, in one of the biggest technology programmes it has ever run.

On the Mail Force online donations page, more than 10,000 people have stepped forward with cash. Among them yesterday was a £15 donation on behalf of schoolgirl Anabella, who has her own tablet and wanted to help less fortunate children who do not have one.

Grandfather George Herbert contributed £30, with the message: ‘My grandchildren have what they need to learn online. I hope this small gift offers the same to someone else’s grandchild.’

Learning support assistant Rachel, who is working with the children of key workers in school during lockdown and donated £15, wrote: ‘I have two teenage children who have to do their schoolwork online at home. Children should be at school, but if they can’t then they need to be able to do their work online from home.’

Another reader, Caroline, donated £25 with the message: ‘I hope this will go towards helping one child who has been stuck at home in the pandemic and make schooling a little easier.’

Cleton Charles, who gave £30, said: ‘We need to have a future and the school children are the future.’ 

Lockdown pupils were all smiles yesterday as the first Mail Force laptops were handed out.

It is only a few days since readers began posting their cheques to the Daily Mail for the charity.

But already gleaming computers are being passed on to grateful students.

The Government’s own laptops initiative has been delivering gadgets to schools up and down the country. Yesterday it was the turn of West London College in Hammersmith, which received 289 Dell machines from the Government.

But there were also a bonus 20 Microsoft Surface Go 2 devices from Mail Force, in a pilot-run of the charity’s scheme to top-up schools’ allocations. James Taylor, deputy principal of the college, where pupils are mostly aged 16 to 18, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to the Government and also to the Daily Mail for these additional laptops which we weren’t expecting at all. We’ll get them out to our learners as quickly as possible.’

Mr Taylor, pictured left with assistant principal Tracy Round-Turner, said: ‘Of 1,800 students, probably only two-thirds of them have some form of device to do their home learning on.

‘Often it’s just mobile phones and while they can watch a video from a tutor on there, it’s really difficult to do coursework. Now we have got these laptops, it is wonderful.’

Now I don’t have to fight 3 brothers for one PC!

Hayden Thomas-Brown has been competing with his three younger brothers for the sole family laptop – and they all have work to do.

Leo, seven, and Jacob, six, are both at primary school, while Dylan, 15, is trying to study for his GCSEs. Hayden, 16, pictured right, said: ‘It has been tough, but now I’ll be able to get on with my English coursework without my brothers needing the computer too. This will really help me. It is a real relief, so thank you.’

His mother, Fay Brown, 33, said: ‘It has been quite the juggling act, with the four of them all needing to do their learning online.

‘We have been trying to do it on mobile phones but it’s just impossible. This is going to make a massive difference and it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Hayden Thomas-Brown (pictured with his new laptop) has been competing with his three younger brothers for the sole family laptop – and they all have work to do

‘It is very kind and considerate of people to have given money to your campaign, and especially when a lot of people are struggling financially at the moment. But I want them to know that it is so very appreciated.’ 

The family live in Sunbury-on-Thames, south-west London, and Miss Brown volunteers at a local food bank, so her own mother Sue Jenkins also helps out with the children. 

Mrs Jenkins said: ‘Fay is an amazing mum and does a brilliant job of home schooling, but it is not easy to support them all with their learning at the same time, and a second laptop is fantastic to have.’

Time to get back on track  

Daria Nicu, who is studying art and design, said: ‘Thank you! It’s so exciting and I am very grateful.

‘Although we don’t have all the materials we need at home, I have been managing to do my artwork as best as I can.

‘But we also have to submit long written pieces explaining our art, and that has been very difficult to do.

The 17-year-old from Perivale, west London, added: ‘Without a laptop it is very hard because you need to type a lot, and doing it on a mobile phone is just impossible.

Daria Nicu (pictured), who is studying art and design, said: ‘Thank you! It’s so exciting and I am very grateful’

‘I have been going back to the old-fashioned way and writing out my essays in my sketchbook, but then I have to take a picture to send to my teachers.

‘I think they would prefer it if I could just type in my work.

‘I really want to study art at university but I have been trying to apply to universities on my phone and I’m terrified in case it didn’t work properly.

‘I am really grateful to the Daily Mail readers. What they have done is a really wonderful thing, because now I can get back on track and improve my work. Thank you.’

Thanks! Now I can study from home

Without a laptop at home, and determined not to fall behind in his BTEC in public services, 17-year-old Connor McKernan has been forced to travel to the college campus to use its library computers.

The teenager, from Hammersmith, has been acutely aware of the added risks of catching Covid this brings, not so much worrying for himself as the fact that several members of his family are classified as vulnerable.

Without a laptop at home, and determined not to fall behind in his BTEC in public services, 17-year-old Connor McKernan (pictured) has been forced to travel to the college campus to use its library computers

So to be given a laptop to work on has lifted a huge weight off his mind.

Connor said: ‘Thanks to you, I won’t need to keep coming in now. I can get on with my assignments at home.’

All I’ve had to work on is my phone

Make-up and beauty student Shalia Turner-Mckenzie, said: ‘It has definitely been hard. All my lessons are on Zoom calls. The only way I’ve been able to follow them is on my mobile phone, but it keeps not working and I’ve missed lots of lessons.

Make-up and beauty student Shalia Turner-Mckenzie (pictured with her new laptop), said: ‘It has definitely been hard’

The 18-year-old from Roundwood Park, north-west London, added: ‘Also, when you are studying how to do make-up, it is really important to be able to see clearly what the teacher is showing you, so having a big screen is important.

‘This laptop will make all the difference and I want to thank you very much for the chance to get back into my course.’ 

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