Extra local funding to help more people get online

By Nick Batten on 3 August, 2021

More South West Wiltshire community groups, schools and charities will be able to get online thanks to additional local funding that has been awarded to community interest company, Wiltshire Digital Drive.

The initiative has been helping bridge the digital divide across the county since October 2020 by refurbishing unwanted laptops, tablets and desktops.

As a result, schoolchildren were able to carry on their learning at home, community groups could get online and fewer people were left feeling isolated during lockdown. More than 145 of the 860 school children and families helped to date, were in the South of Wiltshire. 

Now, following a successful application for funding through the South West Area Board, the not-for-profit initiative has an extra £5,000 to help even more people in the area.

Natalie Sherman, Co-Director of Wiltshire Digital Drive, said, “This funding will help us to refurbish more devices and get them out to individuals that need them most. Some areas of South West Wiltshire are quite rural and remote and the local charities won’t be as big as those in the main towns or city, or necessarily have heard of the work we’re doing. We’re encouraging them to get in touch and apply for these devices to help their communities.” 

It’s not just the generous donations of money that have helped. Local companies and organisations such as Help for Heroes, James Webber Recruitment Ltd and Kingfisher Plc in Southampton, have been donating their old devices to be refurbished and redistributed. 

Kieran Thomas, Co-Director of Wiltshire Digital Drive, said, “We’ve had a great response from the communities in the South of the county. Godolphin School and Wilsons Solicitors have both been acting as collection points for local donations. A massive thank you goes out to staff from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service who were transporting these donations across the county for us and to the 22 Engineer Regiment, based in Hampshire, who collected and donated unwanted devices from the barracks for us to refurbish. Without everyone’s generosity, none of this would be possible.” 

Schools, organisations and charities can apply for laptops through the website www.wiltshiredigitaldivide.co.uk This is also where people, and companies, will find information on how to donate. 

Pictured above: (left to right) Kieran Thomas and Natalie Sherman