CHILDREN of low income families with special educational needs or disabilities are being given vital help to stay in touch with teachers and therapists with a Wiltshire Community Foundation grant.

Collaborative Schools, an education charity made up of a network of 27 primary and secondary schools across Trowbridge, Melksham, Westbury, Warminster and Pewsey, has been given £5,000 to buy 80 iPad and Chromebooks for struggling families who can’t afford to buy them.

Manager Jayne Bullock said the charity, whose therapist work with children in the classroom, have had to adapt to working remotely online. She said: “It’s been a real learning curve but for those families who are the most vulnerable for a number of reasons, it is proving to be a real lifeline, especially for those children of primary school age where our support is mainly for parents to help them meet their children’s needs while they are at home.”

She said many families are shielding for health reasons if one member has an underlying condition. They aren’t meeting any criteria from the government in terms of being able to get some devices to allow the schools or our staff to support them in the home because the criteria is having a social worker.

“What that means for those children is that they have lost all links with society. They are not able to contact or have conversations with staff who they trust in their schools. Parents aren’t able to get advice either in the way that other families are, so they are really cut off from the world,” she added.

The tablets will come pre-loaded with software appropriate for each child and will allow them to access lessons and support that otherwise they would be missing.

Mrs Bullock said: “This device will be personalised to the children’s needs and at a time when they are not able to have contact with their school there are people there who want to help. One child described it as a window and said ‘I can see outside of my four walls now’.

“They will also be able to have weekly face to face conversations with trusted staff at school and remote therapy if that’s what they need. I can’t praise the Wiltshire Community Foundation enough for helping us out with the grant.”

To donate to the Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund or to find out how to apply for a grant, go to