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local Laptop donation

This month I was going to buy a new van to help with all our deliveries going out to you lovely folks (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!), but then I saw local councils desperately asking businesses to donate laptops to schools. Learning has been hard enough for kids through Covid but there have been too many that have struggled because their families can’t afford the equipment needed to attend lessons. And to me that just isn’t right. No child should have to go without the ability to learn, and no parent should feel the guilt of being unable to provide the opportunity for that learning. So this just made sense. A new Van can wait, but these kids’ learning shouldn’t have too. I originally committed to donating 10 laptops to local schools, but after speaking with them I realised more were needed. SO WE DOUBLED IT TO 20! And then I thought, hell, if we are going to buy 20 laptops, we may as well buy the cases too. I then had the pleasure of going to the schools in Thornaby that we had identified as having the greatest need. Why just Thornaby I hear you ask? I would love to buy laptops for kids all over Teesside, but even with your amazing support, I’m still no millionaire so I have to do what I can and focus it in one that sees a lot of deprivation. Also I went to school in Thornaby so this is a little payback for all the cheek I gave some teachers way back when!

Jay standing next to 10 HP Chromebooks at St Patricks Catholic College

St. Patricks Catholic college

This was my old stomping ground and can I just say, it felt so strange stepping back through those doors. A lot of things had changed, but a lot hadn’t either! Whilst there I had the pleasure of speaking with Debbie Law who is now trying to get me onto her alumni board…can you imagine! Anyway, she was telling me how much these 10 laptops can change a child’s learning, the real difference it can make. Especially with them now moving to live lessons after half-term. She already had a few students in mind who some of these would be going to the very next day! It was a real pleasure to be back there, and a real pleasure to be able to help and support the learning of 10 different kids.

It is a fantastic act of generosity from Jay. At a time where many people are struggling, it is wonderful to see people giving selflessly to the community that they belong to. These laptops will make such a big difference to children and their families and help them to continue with their learning at home until we can have everyone back in school with us.


Mr. James Conwell
Head of School
Jay holding HP chromebooks in front of Thornaby Academy

Thornaby academy

I had mentioned on the phone that I would be donating a couple of laptops to the school after they expressed their need, I wasn’t entirely sure how many I would be able to donate at that point so didn’t want to give specifics. When I arrived Diane was expecting two laptops, instead she got 8 and she was just thrilled. There were almost tears from both of us! She was telling me about how amazing all the kids have been during lockdown and how hard it is to balance learning, mental health and screen fatigue. But at least now there are 8 more children who can have full access to the live lessons they are providing. I am truly humbled that I can be a part of that. 

We have been completely over-whelmed by the spirit of generosity in the laptop donation from Steel River Drinks. This additional provision is a life-changer for our students, providing them with vital access to Live lessons, something they could not achieve without such a generous gift.


Diane Griffiths
Assistant Principal
Jay holding Chromebooks in front of St Patricks primary school

St Patricks Primary school

My main focus was on the secondary schools because…they just have way more kids to provide resources for. But when I heard that St.Patrick’s primary school would benefit from a donation as well, I got in touch and organised it asap. I didn’t go here myself but I have a lot of mates who did, and so being able to support them really meant a lot to me (especially since my uncle designed the pin page that is still on their gates!). Another amazing local school that is dealing with the lockdown in such incredible ways, staff are not only teachers anymore but they also have to be sure to balance mental health and learning…not an easy challenge, but one they are all doing brilliantly. 

I am so proud of the community in Thornaby, it really is something else. The place gets a bad rep and most of the time it’s out of order, there are some absolute gems in Thornaby. I’m just so glad that my business has allowed me to help this community that built me and made me into the man I am today. So here’s to the next generation of gems. They’re having to deal with lockdown learning, but at least now 20 more will be able to do it with laptops. I hope this brings you lot as much joy as it brings me, knowing that every bottle of gin you buy helps me give back to our community. So thank you…I couldn’t do it without you!
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Jay Byers holding four new chromebooks in boxes to delivery to local schools

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