A stack of laptop boxes

Wiltshire Digital Drive (W.D.D) is a not-for-profit organisation, and our primary goal is to bridge the digital divide by providing access to technology to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it, which raises the question, “Why do we give out some laptops for free, whilst selling the laptops to others?”

To answer this, we need to establish that there is a difference between the laptops we provide on a free of charge, indefinite loan basis, and the laptops which we sell.

What is a loan laptop?

Firstly, our loan laptops are devices donated to us either by the public, or by local organisations, which we then wipe and upgrade where it is possible, adding our own ‘image’ onto them. This means that every W.D.D loan laptop comes with a standard set of programs pre-installed for our users to browse as necessary. Examples of these programs include communication tools, like Skype & Zoom, as well as functional programs like free word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs similar to the Microsoft office suite. As well as this, we include shortcuts to useful websites & news articles, such as how to stay safe when browsing the internet. This means that any users who haven’t been able to access the internet before can learn to browse with confidence.

To receive a loan laptop, applicants must sign a terms and conditions document which stipulates that the device remains the property of W.D.D, but is given on an indefinite loan basis, so it cannot be sold on or given away, but for the duration of time, however long that it is still needed, we won’t ever ask for it to be returned to us.

We do ask that where possible, care is taken to preserve the laptop so that it can be reused after being returned to us, but we understand that as these devices are second-hand – or third-hand occasionally! – they may break down outside of the control of the user. In these cases, we work with the applicant to either repair or replace the device as quickly as possible.

When will we give a loan laptop out?

We loan laptops out to schools, councils, charities, and voluntary organisations when they submit an application to us which identifies individuals in need. The organisation applying for a device has overall responsibility for the care of the machine.  To date, we have distributed laptops out to organisations such as:

Wiltshire Council,

The Richmond Fellowship,

The Salvation Army,

The Rise Trust,

and Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living.

Common reasons for a loan laptop application being unsuccessful are when the applicant aims to provide laptops to members of staff. We’ve also had to decline applications from pop-up internet cafés or community hubs, in situations where multiple people will use the machine. In these instances, the requests are for company assets & there is also a risk to each user’s data security, as we cannot ensure they sign out of all accounts they access during their browsing sessions, clear their internet search history, or remove any saved documents during their time on the machine. If another user is then able to illegally access a private account or gain access to private materials, this would violate GDPR and put our organisation at risk, so in these situations, we often suggest either applying for a PC or alternatively, buying a laptop directly from W.D.D

What is a sale laptop?

Our sale laptops differ from the loan laptops in many ways. To begin with, these will only come from our corporate partners. Our agreements allow us to sell a percentage of the assets they have donated to us. This means that the sale laptops were previously used in an office environment and have similar specifications to the range currently available in stores, however they are reconditioned and may feature light cosmetic signs of use. We sell these machines at a discounted rate, for example, the HP EliteBook 830 G3. This is (at the time of writing) currently available online from prices ranging from £500 up to £2,000, which can be well beyond the amount the organisations we work with can afford. This is why we offer these devices at the discounted price of £200 + VAT. The laptops are also covered by a 3-month guarantee, in case they have any problems we aren’t aware of during our testing process. These devices also come with a clean installation of Windows 10.

100% of the money raised by the sale of these laptops goes back into our business, helping us to ensure the continued sustainability of our project.

When will we suggest a sale laptop?

We suggest that users consider buying a laptop from us if their initial application to Wiltshire Digital Drive is unsuccessful, as this is usually when a school, charity or organisation would like to give it to staff for internal use or to equip new team members when they join.

What other options are there?

There is never any obligation to buy a laptop from us, and in some cases, we understand that this option may not be a possibility. In such cases we always seek to find an alternate resolution to the problem, either by signposting our applicants to other local organisations that may be able to help, making them aware of grants that they can apply for to gain funding or, if we have a different tech option better suited to their needs, we can instead suggest this.

If you have any questions about the differences between loaned laptops and our stock for sale, please feel free to contact info@wiltshiredigitaldrive.org and we’ll be happy to go into further detail for you. Alternatively, if you know anyone in need, please make an application for a device on their behalf, or if you are looking to supply staff with a good quality & low-cost laptop, check the stock we currently have available for purchase here!

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