Libre Digital was founded in 2010 by social entrepreneur Jay Baker, first as the SilenceBreaker Media initiative, then with the FreeTech Project joining alongside it following years of success in the community, increasing access to technology and information.

Libre Digital has engaged over a 100 people in media and technology education, involved over 70 volunteers, and saved over 840kg of computer waste through repairing, rebuilding, repurposing, and reusing.

Led by a highly knowledgeable board of directors, run by skilled freelance experts, and assisted by key volunteers from the local community, Libre Digital has equipped people with the skills and tools to get online and even make their own media.

Director and Chair: Heather Paterson

  • has worn many hats: youth worker, blogger, artist, festival coordinator, DJ, charity worker

  • believes that sharing information is key to community involvement, which is what attracted her to Libre Digital

  • born in Liverpool in 1981, the year of the infamous Toxteth riots and grew up in Thatcher’s Britain witnessing first hand the effects of recession in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the UK

  • formative years also saw the citywide boycott of The Sun newspaper (which continues to this day) following the false reporting of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died

  • moved to Sheffield in 1999 to study at Hallam University; elected as Hallam Union’s LGB Officer, went onto work as a Youth Worker with the Sheffield LGB Youth Initiative for five years and most recently helped organise Sheffield’s first ever LGBT Pride event and coordinated T’Other Stage, the Women’s / Trans / Alternative performance space

  • firm believer in the DIY/personalisation ethic and over the past decade has been involved with numerous projects campaigning for social justice and working to support vulnerable people and communities

  • her blog, Always Thinking, focuses on various issues broadly surrounding human rights, and now boasts an online readership in excess of 30,000

  • met Libre Digital CEO Jay Baker through Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace, when they realized they had been moving in the same circles yet failed to actually meet, another example of media platforms bringing people together

Director and Treasurer: Reuben Clarke

  • worked at a livery stable from age 11, learning good work ethic and teaching young horse riders, eventually becoming a senior stable hand
  • completed an advanced level apprenticeship in IT, gaining a BTEC Level 3 Extended diploma, going on to become a Sales Consultant for ESP Projects, an IT firm specialising in providing IT support and services to third sector organisations
  • while continuing to work at ESP Projects as a part-time Junior Software Developer supporting and maintaining clients’ websites, began studying Business and ICT at Sheffield Hallam University
  • during second year at Sheffield Hallam University began volunteering for SilenceBreaker Media, helping to fix, refurbish and sell second-hand PCs
  • during third year at Sheffield Hallam University, completed a Year in Industry (YINI) working for National Grid in the Information Services directorate
  • upon completion of YINI, returned to Sheffield Hallam University to finish degree, gaining a First Class qualification while continuing to work for ESP Projects as a Technical Sales Consultant and also took on a paid role as a Junior Technical Facilitator with SilenceBreaker Media
  • upon graduation was invited back to National Grid and is now on their Graduate Development Programme working as a Business Security Liaison in their Digital Risk & Security Team

Director and Secretary: Ka Man Shing

  • recent law graduate from the University of Sheffield
  • after spending a year studying abroad (2014-15) at the Universität Luzern in Switzerland, has had exposure to international aspects of the law including but not limited to: International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, Public International Law and Media Law – specifically relating to internet defamation
  • has volunteered with SilenceBreaker Media and Libre Digital since July 2014, providing general legal assistance, as well as researching, reviewing and revising policies including the organisation’s Child Protection Policy, Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy, Grievance Procedure and Volunteering Agreement and has also drafted contractual agreements, and reviewed Articles of Association and Memorandum
  • having access to and serving justice has been Ka Man’s aspiration and enjoys quoting Britain’s most senior judge, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd: “our justice system has become unaffordable to most”
  • during final year at university, joined the University of Sheffield’s Amicus Society as student volunteer, motivated to join the society after hearing about the gross injustices of prisoners on death row in the U.S. and contends that though it is engrained within the U.S.’ constitution, prisoners still do not get the right to fair representation – as a student volunteer, took the initiative to create and manage a social media page to promote awareness of the charity and during her time at the society, also arranged for an experienced guest speaker, Mark George QC, to deliver a talk about the charity and what students could do to get involved, which consequently raised awareness and profile for the charity
  • was awarded the Nicola Epworth for Outstanding Commitment to Performing Arts in 2012, which is a long-standing memorial trophy awarded to one student at the end of Year 13 that has most contributed to the academy in the performing arts; her commitment includes participation in three bands including the Orchestra for the whole time at the academy and also includes designing and painting the set for a major school production ‘Oliver’, and having artwork exhibited in the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall on behalf of the academy

CEO: Jay Baker

  • social entrepreneur, community facilitator, public speaker, documentarian and writer with nearly 20 years of experience in social enterprise
  • attended a BA (Hons) Media degree at Barnsley College and worked for Rotherham Council’s Young People’s Services in their Multimedia Department
  • when funding for that ended, promptly set up his own community group in order to continue running media activities with disadvantaged youth for a further five years
  • among the first key founding directors of Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR)
  • gained experience in creative industries in both the United States and Canada, where he resided for two years and won election to the board of Laurier Students Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) at Wilfrid Laurier University
  • visited and researched successful media social enterprises AdBusters (Vancouver) and GlobalAware (Toronto)
  • returning to Britain, became a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs in 2010

Projects Manager: Jane Watkinson

  • researcher, writer, evaluator, and project manager with 7 years experience working within the community and social enterprise sector
  • holds a First Class BA Degree in Sociology from the University of Leeds; winner of the Wheeler Memorial Fund Prize
  • holds a Masters Degree with Distinction on Politics with Research Methods from the University of Sheffield
  • has volunteered for Age Concern and on a Latimer project to politically map the UK
  • hers was voted in the top 300 UK political blogs by Total Politics and has been quoted in The Independent, The Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal
  • also met SilenceBreaker Media founder Jay Baker through social media, when both were contributors to The Blog Paper