MAYOR Andy Burnham has called on Bolton and regional firms to support the Greater Manchester Tech Fund.

Under the scheme, disadvantaged young people working from home will be supported with laptops and tablets.

Industry giants like Auto Trader, the ANS Group, The Prince's Trust, Arup and Business in the Community are already on board.

And it comes after a study by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) found less than half of young learners has been given assistance to date in the city region during lockdown.

Donations of just £300 can ensure a full digital kit, including a laptop or tablet, can be dispatched to a student.

Mr Burnham said: “In Greater Manchester we have committed to tackling digital and social exclusion, by setting out our ambition to become a 100 per cent digitally enabled city region.

"We know that there is a high percentage of young people across Greater Manchester who have become digitally excluded during this pandemic and their education has suffered."

Ex-track star Diane Modahl, the region's youth task force chairman, added: "Digital exclusion was a major focus of Greater Manchester’s Young Person’s Guarantee.

"Young people themselves told us about their anxieties over keeping connected digitally, ranging from concerns over accessing resources for schoolwork, keeping in touch with their school friends or the ability to be connected to future employers."