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Final call for free kids' computers

PUBLISHED: 15:09 14 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:02 30 June 2010

A FINAL call is going out to families who may be eligible for free computers or internet access for their children.

In January, the County Council called on all families with children eligible for free school meals to apply for a computer under the Government's Home Access programme.

A FINAL call is going out to families who may be eligible for free computers or internet access for their children.

In January, the County Council called on all families with children eligible for free school meals to apply for a computer under the Government's Home Access programme.

So far 3370 families have received grants for computers, and Norfolk is second only to Essex in the number of successful applications in the east of England.

However, it is thought that more than 2,000 families could still be eligible and there are just days left to apply. All of the grants are expected to have been awarded by the end of this week.

The scheme is aimed at providing computers and internet access to children aged seven to 14. To be eligible, children must be in school years three to nine and entitled to free school meals.

Alison Thomas, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, said: “There is very little time left to apply for these computers and I would urge anyone who thinks they might be eligible to make an application.

“Children who have access to a computer have greater opportunities to explore the world of learning and can develop their technology and English skills.

“We are ambitious for Norfolk's children which is why we have worked hard to promote these scheme through our schools and have seen so many successful applications already.

“However, we know that there are people who are still eligible who haven't applied. These computers are provided on a first come, first served basis so Norfolk's families need to apply quickly so that they don't miss out.”

One computer is available per family and includes pre loaded support technology. The scheme also includes a dedicated support line; parental control settings to maintain safety and at least one year's free internet access.

The scheme works by providing families with a cash card and letter, stating what equipment they can buy and at what value. Any money not spent on individual cards will go back to the budget to help other families.

There are a number of packages that families can choose from and those who already have a computer can just apply for internet access.

Parents need to apply direct to Home Access by calling 0333 200 1004 or visiting homeaccess.org.uk.

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