North East charity Tech Equal, backed by local entrepreneur Dean Benson, has donated iPads to local baby and infant hospice, Zoë’s Place, to ensure families can stay connected and digitally active during their stay.

The charity was launched in 2022 to increase tech equity in Teesside, ensuring that all children have equal access to devices and knowledge of the creative digital and tech scene that surrounds them.

It has recently donated five iPads to Zoë’s Place in Middlesbrough, which provides short break services, palliative and end-of-life care to babies and children living with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

Sarah Heward, project lead at Tech Equal, said: “The team at Zoë’s Place work exceptionally hard to keep the quality of life as normal and enriched as possible for the children and their families. We are hoping that through our donation it will only enhance the service they are already providing by allowing a digital connection to learning and support networks inside and outside the hospice.

“It was really great to spend the morning with the team and understand how this donation of five iPads will impact the hospice and to meet some of the children and staff.”

Head of Care at Zoë’s Place Beth Hill added: “This donation really is amazing. The iPads will benefit the children who access our hospice, where they gain more access to specific technology – some of which they can’t access from home.”

“They will also be used by families who access our end-of-life and bereavement suites, allowing them to stay in contact with their extended families.”

Tech Equal’s strategic goals are to increase tech equity for all children in Teesside, including those that have life-limiting conditions and illnesses.

The charity has several events planned throughout the year to raise awareness and improve tech equity in the local area and is looking forward to inviting Zoë’s Place and the children and families to take part in those.

Tech Equal’s mission is to work with local businesses and the digital sector to support education among young people, especially of primary school age, ensuring that future generations have equal access to technology and are digitally literate.

Its donation strategy aims to give everyone the opportunity to be involved in supporting digital equity in Teesside, with varying levels of support.