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Amazon donates 10,000 Fire tablets to help kids struggling to learn from home

A brilliant gesture

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Amazon is donating 10,000 Fire tablets to schools across the UK to help children learn from home.

Kids across the UK are being taught remotely due to schools being closed until at least March 8th with only vulnerable kids and the children of key workers allowed to attend physical classes in school.

For many families, learning from home has been a struggle if the children don’t have access to a laptop or internet.

To help those families, Amazon confirmed it will be setting aside 10,000 Fire Tablets for schools that need them.

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Working with education charity Teach First the devices will be handed out to schools rather than directly to families, then each school can decide which pupils need the devices. 

It comes after Teach First found that more than one third of parents in England have at least one child who doesn’t have exclusive access to a computer. 

John Boumphrey, UK country manager for Amazon, said: “It is critical children across the UK have access to devices so they can continue to learn remotely, but also to support STEM skills and education for the future.

“We’re proud to work with Teach First in supporting the immediate needs of children in underserved communities while also helping to inspire and unlock the potential of the next generation of builders, inventors and innovators.”

The schools will be contacted by the charity so they can order the devices and they will get to keep the tablets once they have received them.

Kathryn Hobbs, headteacher of David Nieper Academy, a Teach First partner school in Derbyshire, said: “When it comes to schoolwork, a smartphone just isn’t sufficient – but the hard truth is that some families simply can’t afford IT equipment.

“To support our pupils through this pandemic, we need more access to devices… so that nothing holds our pupils back from their fundamental right to learn.”

You can see a full guide on how to get a free laptop for your child plus other support that is available here

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Supermarkets and petrol companies issue update on current fuel situation

They have urged motorists to stop panic buying fuel

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@snb19692 / Twitter & @Razzo / Twitter

As frantic motorists across the region continue to panic buy and stockpile fuel, supermarkets and petrol companies have issued an update on the so-called ‘fuel shortage crisis’.

Now, this fiasco has never been about a shortage of petrol – it is about a shortage of HGV drivers, the very thing that has been causing minor food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants. Three of the UK’s biggest petrol suppliers did initially report some fuel shortages as a result of the driver crisis; however, only a small fraction of their petrol stations were actually impacted.

But this hasn’t stopped thousands of drivers descending into a panic and rushing to their local petrol station to stock up on fuel, causing lengthy queues and, ironically, the actual shortage of petrol in a number of stations across not only Manchester, but the rest of the country.

Well, amid the frenzy and the chaos, supermarkets and petrol companies have now given an update on the ‘crisis’ and have urged people to stop panic buying.

Firstly, a Tesco spokesperson acknowledged that while the supermarket chain is experiencing ‘temporary outages in a small number of areas’, there is no need to panic buy and stockpile fuel, saying: “We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.”

A Morrisons spokesperson also said: “It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep our pumps open and serve our customers.”

Similarly, a BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites. This is being caused by a shortage of qualified drivers. The majority of the 1200 sites we supply remain supplied and open.

“However, at the moment we estimate that 10 to 15 per cent of sites in this network currently may not have one grade of fuel or another.”

A spokesperson for Shell added: “We are working hard to ensure supplies for customers. Since Friday we have been seeing a higher-than-normal demand across our network which is resulting in some sites running low on some grades.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also weighed into the equation during a TV appearance this morning, saying: “The good news is there is plenty of fuel, the bad news is if everyone carries on buying it when they don’t need it then we will continue to have queues.”

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Woman sparks outrage after advertising cans of petrol for sale on Stockport Facebook group

As people queue for miles for fuel, one woman decided to cash in on the crisis

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@snb19692 / Twitter & Facebook

A woman sparked was met with a wave of backlash this morning after she advertised two cans of petrol for sale in a local Facebook group.

The controversial advert was posted in the Marple, Romiley & Bredbury Community Facebook group this morning, where two cans of petrol were being flogged for £50 or the nearest offer.

The ad read: “10L e10 petrol. Collection from Romiley. £50 Ono. Cans not included but can fill up on collection.”

The post, which has since been deleted, instantly racked up a number of angry reactions, with one social media user asking, “Is this a wind up?”

Facebook

The woman’s attempt at cashing in on the ongoing ‘fuel shortage’ crisis comes shortly after the government urged people to not stock up on fuel, explaining that there is no shortage.

Chairman Brian Madderson said the shortages were actually down to ‘panic buying, pure and simple’ as he slammed whoever leaked BP’s original supply concerns to the media following a meeting with Government earlier this month.

Madderson added: “Whoever leaked it to a main broadcaster must have known the chaos that would ensue as soon as it hit newspapers, and that’s what we’ve had.”

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North West residents urged to cut back on water as reservoirs run low

United Utilities has suggested a number of ways in which residents can cut back on their water usage

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Andres Siimon / Unsplash & Pixabay

United Utilities has issued a water usage warning for North West residents as reservoir levels plummet. 

While reporting that the region’s supply of tap water is ‘less than half what it should be’ at this time of the year, the water supplier has offered an array of suggestions as to how residents can lower their water usage.

In an email to customers, United Utilities said: “To keep precious water in the reservoirs until they have a chance to recover and help protect local wildlife, save water and only use what you need.

Jorge Franganillo / Flickr

“We can do this with very little impact on our usual routine and every drop is precious, so swap a bath for a four minute shower, use the washing machine once less each week and re-use water where you can.”

The water supply across the North West comes from Haweswater and Thirlmere reservoirs in the Lake District, which are both only 36% full – usual levels in September would be around 70%, according to ITV News.

The shortage comes as a result of an unusually dry summer; although there were plenty of wetter days in North West cities and towns and even flooding in some areas, it has been the driest June to September in over 130 years in the Lake District.

Harry Grout / Unsplash

There has also been extra demand on water being used as a result of more people staying at home and taking holidays in the north west during the pandemic.

Over on their website, the supplier also suggests a number of methods to lower water usage, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, using a washing up bowl when washing the dishes, and refraining from overfilling the kettle by only boiling what you need.

For those with a garden, United Utilities also suggests investing in a butt, a device which collects rainwater to be used in the house, and to fully ditch the hosepipe while watering plants and washing cars, noting that using a watering can for your plants and a bucket and sponge for your car will not only save water, but will do wonders for the environment.

See their full list of tips here. 

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