Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pupils invited to win 10 years free internet connectivity for their schools – plus other top tech prizes!

Exa Networks, the specialist education and business internet service provider, is marking its 10th year in business by launching a competition for UK pupils  to win a total of 10 years free internet connectivity for their schools, plus iPads and other digital favourites for themselves.

The internet connectivity prize includes Exa’s SurfProtect which filters out unsuitable internet content to make web-searching safer for children.   

Mark Cowgill, Co-Founder & Director of Yorkshire-based Exa Networks, said: “The competition is a way to celebrate reaching the milestone of a decade of proudly supplying schools and colleges with high quality, content-filtered internet services.   We hope it’ll catch the imaginations of school pupils across the UK and inspire them to get creative and help us celebrate our 10th Birthday.”
The competition is open to any child, aged between 5 and 18, currently in full-time education at a school or college in the UK.  In addition, the top three entrants will also win prizes for themselves.

  • First prize is five years free internet for the winning entrant’s school plus an individual prize of a PS4, an Xbox ONE, an iPad or a Nexus 10.

  • Second prize is three years of free internet for the entrant’s school plus an iPad Mini for the entrant.

  • Third prize is two years free internet for the entrant’s school plus an iPod touch.

The winning schools can choose from Exa Networks’ connectivity services which cover the full range of options available in the UK: from Broadband and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) to multi gigabit leased lines.
To enter, pupils need to create a story, picture, PowerPoint, video or cartoon about either of the following:

  • What I think about the internet 
  • The world in the next ten years

Or pupils can submit an entry about a topic of their own choice; it could tie into a school project.

Entries should be submitted before 25th October 2013 to Exa Networks, 27-29 Mill Field Road, Cottingley Business Park, Bingley, BD16 1PY or electronically.  Full details of how to do this are on the website  The winners will be announced on Exa’s birthday on the 31st October.

Exa Networks, which is based in Cottingley near Bradford, was founded in 2003 by Mark Cowgill, Thomas Mangin and Michael Syree to provide specialist IT connectivity, networking and software for the education sector and businesses.  Exa Networks has also pioneered technology to ensure school children can browse the web in safety with access restricted to some sites to ensure that unsuitable content is filtered out.

Full details, terms and conditions of the competition can be found at

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The RSPCA have reported an alarming increase in animals being abandoned across England and Wales

In the last year, the RSPCA were called out to rescue more than 37,000 abandoned animals and received a call asking for help every 30 seconds.

Every year the charity sees a sharp rise in abandonments at the height of summer. Evidence from the RSPCA and other animal charities suggests some people chose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday.

In other cases, money may be spent on holidays and other summer ‘treats’ rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are simply discarded.

“The shocking fact is that even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish,” said RSPCA deputy chief inspector Ben Strangwood.

The animal welfare charity has released a list of the most unusual places that animals have been abandoned since May [2013]. Including:

  • A dog dumped in a duffel bag 
  • Chinchillas found in a cage in a cemetery 
  • Very young rabbits discovered in a plant pot inside a shopping bag 
  • A mother cat and kittens dumped in a wheelie bin 
  • A terrapin left in a bucket in a children’s playground
  • A man who walked into a Tesco and asked a woman to hold his cat while he called the RSPCA - and then never returned.

The list is a startling reminder that some really do view animals as commodities that can be discarded without a moments’ thought.

“It’s bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note,” added DCI Strangwood, “but now people are deliberately dumping their animals in out of the way places - like bins, skips or on waste ground - and leaving them to die.” 

The public is urged to be vigilant, and to alert the RSPCA if they notice boxes, bins or bags that could contain abandoned animals. Things to look out for include movement and noises.     

To help the RSPCA continue its vital work rescuing rehabilitating and rehoming abandoned animals across England and Wales, Text RUBBISH to 70800 to give £5 today.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


ABCharity is the first-ever human alphabet made with thousands of children. They will do one letter per Country in significant locations across the Globe.  When the Alphabet is complete, the letters will be sold as photo art.  For example, SONY could buy S.O.N.Y and 100% of the money will go straight to the charity of the buyer’s choice.

The Seven Sisters has been chosen as the location for the letter “D,” which will be photographed on a day to be determined in August, 2013.  In each country ABCharity engages the community at large in an attempt to prove that “together we can make a difference.” They are seeking support from companies and individuals who can donate food/drinks, giveaways for the kids, elevation to take the photograph and volunteers.

They are also looking for groups and organizations that would like to participate. The event requires 500 kids between the ages of 6-12.

The letter “A” was photographed in South Africa with 500 kids in front of Table Mountain; The letter “B” was photographed on the Dunes of Namibia with 500 kids and the letter “C” has just taken place in southern Sweden with 500 children.

The project is spearheaded and financed by Canadian Ashley Cooper and Swede Filip Cederholm, who gave up everything they owned to make this dream a reality. It is part of a web series called Peace Love & Photography, which has garnered much attention globally.

To learn more, please visit for photos of the completed letters and to see a two-minute promotional video.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pupils to pen ‘Poems for Peace’

Ocado teams up with non-profit organisation, Peace One Day and children’s author, Francesca Simon to get school kids writing poems for Peace

LONDON, 18th June 2013: Over 90,000 students from thousands of schools across the UK will write ‘Poems for Peace’ in a competition devised by online supermarket Ocado and non-profit organisation Peace One Day.

Developed by Ocado as part of its longtime partnership with Peace One Day, the ‘Poems for Peace’ campaign asks children explore the theme of Peace and what it means to them. It forms part of the wider Primary Education Resource which Ocado supports – dedicated lesson plans for parents and teachers to download to educate children about Peace and violence reduction both domestically and internationally.

Parents and teachers can download the Ocado ‘Poems for Peace’ lesson plan from the Peace One Day website ( or through a specially designed Peace Aisle ( which has been created to encourage Ocado customers to think about how they can make Peace on a more local level within their own homes.   

Ocado has recruited renowned children’s author of the Horrid Henry series and schools literacy champion, Francesca Simon to be involved with the campaign to judge the entries from across the nation. Francesca commented, “I’m thrilled to be involved in this worthy cause which engages not only the children but their parents and families, asking them to use their creativity and imagination to write about Peace.”

Jason Gissing, Ocado co-founder and Peace One Day education ambassador said, “As a dad I want my kids to grow up in a world where Peace is a reality for all, not just a dream. Engaging school children is vital in this process as they are the next generation of Peacemakers – this is why Ocado continue to support the Peace One Day Primary Education Resource.”

Poems can then be entered into the competition with the most creative entry winning a trip to The Hague for this year’s Peace One Day concert which last year featured performances by Elton John and Eliza Dolittle. This year’s performers will be announced on 19th June.

The winner of the competition will also have their ‘Poem for Peace’ printed on a limited edition tea towel which will be sold exclusively through Ocado with all profits going to Peace One Day. The tea towels will be in homes across the UK and serve as a year-round reminder of the importance of Peace.

Filmmaker and founder of Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley, continued: “We’re delighted to be working with Ocado on this project. The ‘Poem for Peace’ lesson plan is a fantastic addition to Peace One Day’s free Primary Education Resource.  Young people have always been at the heart of Peace One Day’s work and this competition is a great way to engage them.”