Wiltshire Digital Drive (WDD) is a non-profit Community-Interest-Company based in Wiltshire and has the goal of:
While WDD hasn’t been around for long, our team at Naturally Social has supported them in achieving a lot!
The story began in April 2020, when Priority IT launched its ‘laptops for home schoolers’ initiative. Priority IT took in unwanted laptops, refurbished them and redistributed them to families with no access to a laptop.
The team here at Naturally Social headed up this amazing campaign and the first donations arrived within just two weeks! 155 machines were refurbished between May and September 2020!
Anyone who wasn’t able to support by donating technology was able to support through a Go Fund Me page. £11,603 has been raised with all money being used to buy parts and refurbish laptops.
Following the success of the campaign, it was obvious that there was so much more to be done. So, our Founder Natalie spoke with Kieran (the Director at Priority IT) about turning the campaign into something more permanent!
The prospect of helping so many people within the country meant that the campaign turned into the creation of Wiltshire Digital Drive in October 2020.
Natalie Sherman from Naturally Social, Kieran and Kerry Thomas from Priority IT and Steven Turner from Turner & Partners are all directors for WDD and all have specific areas that make this amazing Community Interest Company what it is.
Wiltshire Digital Drive’s mission soon attracted interest! And as a result, our PR coverage saw WDD catch the attention of the BBC and that turned into a partnership under the BBC’s Make A Difference scheme. This demonstrates the amazing success of the partnership and the PR and social media coverage our team was putting out.
With Priority IT working hard to refurbish devices, we soon realised it was more than just school children that needed help. Charities and various community groups were working with some of the most vulnerable adults in the county. Connectivity was going to play a vital part to their health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
The Wiltshire Women Empowerment Program was just one of the charities that WDD was been able to distribute devices to. The donated devices provided support to empower women and female-headed families.
We’re also pleased to report that one in five schools within Wiltshire has been helped by Wiltshire Digital Drive. These schools include:
More recently enabled Wiltshire Digital Drive in supporting Ukrainian refugees who have been rehomed in Wiltshire. WDD sent:
All 140 devices will be gifted to the Ukrainian refugees. They’ll help them stay in contact with friends and family back home and give them access to much-needed services.
In 2021 we organised and delivered two events, held at the Digital Mansion – Naturally Social HQ. The first was a volunteer event hosting around 45 attendees and providing everyone involved in WDD an opportunity to say thank you to and be thanked for their commitment and continued support.
A few months later we hosted a corporate event, another great opportunity to thank our corporate supporters. It also gave other organisations an opportunity to learn about who WDD are and what they do, not to mention how they could help support such a fantastic cause.
While WDD were busy celebrating companies and individuals who support them, they also received of a lot of positive attention.
Along with continued PR coverage, we also wrote several award entries on behalf of WDD. In 2020, WDD won the Best Use of Social Media category in the Reward: Recognising Charities & Non-Profits award ceremony.
In 2021, WDD won the award for Covid Community Champion at the Southwest Business & Community Awards.
It’s not just awards entries that we’ve supported WDD with. We’ve also submitted a number of grant applications which resulted in, most recently, being awarded over £150,000 from the National Lottery.
These successful grant applications mean the amazing work our team at Naturally Social and the teams at Priority IT and Turner & Partners do within WDD can continue. It also means WDD will be able to recruit their first employees, another important aspect that our Founder, Natalie, will lead for WDD.
WDD has received nearly 6000 devices in donations since the first laptops for school’s campaign launched in the 1st lockdown. But that’s not the only impressive statistic we’re able to report on. WDD has managed to, in turn, re-distribute over 1500 devices across the county!
With our support, WDD introduced a zero landfill policy and the recycling efforts of Priority IT has meant that WDD has managed to prevent over 6.5 tonnes of technology from going into landfill!
We all know the importance of keeping campaigns and charities at the forefront of people’s minds. We worked hard to create and introduce WDD’s first awareness day. Something that was timely and at a time when there could be an increase in surplus technology.
On the 7th of January 2022, Donate Your Digital Day was born. A yearly awareness day provides an opportunity for people to donate their unwanted technology after potentially receiving new over Christmas. We’re pleased to report that over 1000 devices were donated, in just a single day!
The story of WDD may be shorter than most charities but what they’ve been able to achieve, thanks to the continued hard work of the Directors and their teams, is nothing short of amazing!
If you were inspired by Wiltshire Digital Drive’s story and want to get involved, you can find a list of all their donation stations on their website.
If you don’t have technology to donate, that’s ok! You can still support WDD by sharing the story, joining the Facebook group, and interacting with the social media posts of WDD, Naturally Social, Priority IT and Turner & Partners.
If you’re able and would like to contribute financially the crowdfunding page is still accepting donations. It costs just £30 to refurbish a laptop.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to #DonateYourDigital!