As part of its longstanding commitment of giving back to the communities in which it operates, accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers have donated recycled laptops to schools in Manchester and Blackburn, Lancs. The schools donated to are Manchester Communication Academy (MCA) and Blackburn Central High School (BCHS).
The issue of a ‘digital divide’ between households came to the fore during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when schools, colleges and universities were closed, and students had to be educated remotely. Beever and Struthers wanted to help bridge the so-called ‘digital divide’ between homes that do or don’t have access to a laptop for learning purposes by providing students with the means to continue their education at home.
As well as donating the laptops, Beever and Struthers’ partner Andrew McLaren gave a presentation on career prospects at the firm to Year 11 students at MCA. MCA is part of Greater Manchester Academies Trust (GMAT), located in Harpurhey, north Manchester and also consists of GMAT Manchester Communication Primary Academy, North Manchester ITT and Manchester Communication Research School.
BCHS allocated laptops to its safeguarding team to ensure students have access to external agencies supporting the care of young people, with the remainder being used as a ‘bank’ for online tutoring and mentoring across the curriculum. We also provided students at BCHS with stationery and craft items to aid their education.
The donation to BCHS reflects a wider partnership between Beever and Struthers and the school including representatives of the firm meeting students selected for mentoring to raise their aspirations, confidence, self-esteem and achievements. The students also receive information on Beever and Struthers including career options in areas such as accountancy, IT, HR and marketing.
Beever and Struthers recently organised for explorer Mark Wood to address Year 9 students about his 35-plus expeditions in extreme environments including the Geographic North Pole and South Geographic Pole and an insight into the effects of climate change, with Mark also donating a signed copy of one of his books to the BCHS library.
Geraldine Finn, the firm’s marketing and business development director and formal enterprise advisor for BCHS, said: “Being constantly aware of the need to give something back before, during and after the pandemic, sourcing and donating these laptops to GMAT and BCHS proves we’re more than an accountancy firm by investing in and supporting the communities in which we work and live.”
Martin Roberts, assistant principal at Manchester Communication Academy, said: “The donation of the laptops by Beever and Struthers is an incredibly generous gesture and is already making a significant difference to our students, their studies and their future.
“We’d also like to thank Andrew for taking the time to speak with our Year 11 students. They’re excited to further their knowledge and interest in the sector via some of the potential opportunities he discussed with them.”
Tracy Reeves, assistant Headteacher and Careers Leader, said “Beever and Struthers is an extended part of our BCHS family. We have formed a meaningful and long-lasting relationship that will continue to support our students through their studies as well as helping them to have high aspirations for life. We are incredibly grateful for the time and resources Beever and Struthers provide to BCHS; we are already seeing the impact of the support provided. Individuals who receive mentoring from the professionals at Beever and Struthers have already made gains in their studies and have higher career aspirations as a result of the relationships formed.”
Geraldine’s role as formal enterprise advisor at BCHS helped Beever and Struthers to recently become a Lancashire Skills Pledge member, an accreditation from Lancashire Enterprise Partnership for almost 100 businesses actively involved in one or more skills pledges to inspire and upskill people in Lancashire.
The firm also works with the Employer Skills Group organised by the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation with support from GM Futures, a partnership with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. The contributions of the firm ensure that voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations across Greater Manchester have better access to skills and training opportunities that are relevant to their employees.