Mayor Andy Preston has praised national technology firm Causeway after they marked their arrival in Middlesbrough with a £25,000 donation to fight digital poverty across the town.
Causeway Technologies will move into the top floor of One Centre Square in central Middlesbrough once a £1 million fit-out is completed.
The firm has promised to creating up to 20 new jobs by the middle of the year, bringing the total created to 60 since the move to Middlesbrough.
To mark a move that will see Middlesbrough become its Centre of Digital Excellence, Causeway donated £25,000 towards a charity effort to provide laptops, iPads and internet connectivity to schoolchildren across the town and wider Teesside.
It means an appeal managed by charity Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation that mayor Preston has pushed since Christmas has now topped £100,000, with every penny already committed to providing tech for pupils who have been forced to learn from home.
Mayor Preston has also led on Middlesbrough Council’s unique promise to ensure no child goes without a laptop.
“We’re grateful to Causeway, as a national technology firm, for coming to Middlesbrough, creating jobs and building out their businesses from here,” he said. “I’d like to formally welcome them to Centre Square. It’s great to have them as the council’s neighbours.
“We’re also delighted that Causeway are showing such incredible support for the local community in this most generous and caring way.”
Causeway’s chief technology officer Charlie Pickering said he was particularly proud that the firm was able to support the community in this way as someone born and raised in the area.
“I’m from Middlesbrough, so I’m naturally passionate about the area, while our chief executive Phil Brown is always passionate about supporting the areas we work in,” he said.
“We feel it’s important to help whichever community we work in, giving something back, especially to those less fortunate.
“We’re delighted to be moving into the Middlesbrough area, which now becomes part of the Causeway family.
“As an IT company, digital poverty is naturally something close to our hearts and it makes absolute sense to do what we can to help.
“I’m told that 70% of children in some areas have no access to internet. That puts them at a serious disadvantage in their long-term learning and mental health and wellbeing.
“One of the challenges when you have a pot of cash to help out is finding the right charity to channel it through, making sure the impact of our donation is maximised in the local community and I’m confident the Philanthropic Foundation is a perfect fit.”
Lee Bramley, chair of trustees for the Philanthropic Foundation, said: “We’re bowled over by this incredible gesture by Causeway and look forward to working with them to support their commitment to the local community.
“Backed by generous donations from firms such as Causeway, the Foundation has been working with dozens of local schools to ensure we provide the technology and connectivity exactly where it’s needed and for the pupils who need it most.
“While pupils will soon be returning to the classroom, it’s a fact that digital poverty will remain a challenge into the future and we’re incredibly proud to have played our part in a £100,000 fund to fight the issue locally. Thank you again to all the firms and individuals who’ve so generously helped out.”
Charlie and the mayor are pictured with Jill Manders, deputy head of St Joseph’s RC Primary School on Marton Road in Middlesbrough, who received five Chromebooks through the Digital Poverty Appeal that included the tech firm’s £25,000 donation.
Looking forward to the move into Centre Square, Mr Pickering added: “Causeway is a really good fit for Middlesbrough. We’re looking to create our Centre of Digital Excellence here so there’s a real opportunity for us and the town.
“We want to attract the best talent so we’ll look to tap into the availability of resource that Teesside University creates, but it’s clear there’s a lot of talent in the area, people have a great work ethic, there are people who need work and we will be creating opportunities for them.
“We’re continually looking to take on engineers in the North-East – we have 10 vacancies now and we’ll probably have at least another 10 in quarter two.”
He added: “Covid has slowed things down a little but we are there are thereabouts in terms of the fit-out of the offices. The facilities are fantastic but we are only going in when we have all necessary Covid precautions in place to protect our staff and visitors, but we can’t wait to get in.”
• To view vacancies for IT developers, visit the Causeway website at www.causeway.com/careers