Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Covid community champion shortlisted for national award

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Natalie Sherman and Kieran Thomas


A not-for-profit company formed to supply laptops to homeschoolers from low-income families during lockdown has been shortlisted for a national award.

Wiltshire Digital Drive was set up by Westbury-based Priority IT and Corsham-based social media consultancy Naturally Social.

The community interest company has distributed 750 laptops since being formed in May last year. Laptops, which are donated by businesses and individuals, are wiped and refurbished before being donated to children through schools.

Now Wiltshire Digital Drive has been shortlisted in the Mission Possible Award category of the Small Awards, a competition run by Small Business Britain.

“After what has been a difficult year for the whole small business community, it has been inspirational to hear about phenomenal small businesses across the UK, and the determination and resilience they have shown throughout the pandemic,” said Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain, the UK’s leading champion of small businesses.

“The Small Awards exist to celebrate and champion the amazing contribution of fantastic small firms like Wiltshire Digital Drive. We received a record number of applications this year, with an incredibly high standard of entry, so all of the small businesses shortlisted should be rightly proud of this achievement.”

Natalie Sherman, co-director of Wiltshire Digital Drive, said: “The past year has been difficult for everyone, so to be recognised nationally for the work we’ve all been doing is incredible. Setting up and running this Community Interest Company, while still running our own businesses, has been tough - but completely worth it.

"To see how many children, families and organisations have been helped due to our persistence, commitment and dedication to the cause makes it all worthwhile. To now see other businesses taking inspiration from us, and even altering their own business models to help local communities is amazing.

"Everyone who has been involved, in any way, with Wiltshire Digital Drive should be proud of what we have achieved so far.”

Judged by a panel of leading enterprise experts, the winners of all categories, along with the overall winner of Small Business of the Year, will be announced on May 13 during a virtual event.