Mental Health services for young people in Manchester

42nd StreetWho are they?
42nd STREET.

Where are they?
Manchester.

What do they do?
Provide support for young people experiencing stress and mental health problems.

How big are they?
30 staff, £900,000 turnover

What did they receive?
Cisco router, wireless access point and 48-port Ethernet switch; MS Small Business Server with user client add-on packs, MS Windows Pro Upgrade, Publisher 2007 & Office Professional Plus 2007.

The outcome?
A new network more suitable for a modern office environment.

 Around one in ten young people experience some form of mental health problem, and it’s a sobering fact that suicide accounts for 20% of all deaths amongst this group. The 42nd Street Charity works in and around the Manchester area, providing dedicated services for those most affected by this issue.

“We work with young people with a very wide range of problems,” explains Ian Trafford, at the charity. “From those with mild to moderate anxiety or depression, to people with quite severe mental health problems, such as psychosis. Helping people who self-harm is one of our specialities.”

The charity employs 30 staff and turns over just under a million pounds annually, yet until recently the office IT systems were actively holding it back. “The old network had run its course,” recalls Ian. “Staff didn’t know from day to day whether they’d have email, or be able to access their files. It was leaking time and money just patching it up.”

Funding generally comes from NHS mental health commissioning and grants; raising additional cash is an uphill struggle. “You know you won’t generate significant donations through commercial sponsorship,” says Ian, talking through the perception of the outside world towards their particular area of work. And it is this reliance on commissioning that has proved a major issue IT-wise. “There is a huge level of expectation from commissioners with regards to reporting back,” he explains. “You need an extremely reliable and accurate system and database – which we didn’t have. Ultimately there was a real business risk that we wouldn’t be able to get funds”.

The CTX scheme came along at the right time – and with donations from Cisco and Microsoft, the charity was able to rebuild its entire infrastructure. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise,” confirms Ian, before rattling off some ballpark figures. “We probably saved six to seven thousand pounds on capital outlay immediately.” But the main prize has been on the day-to-day reliability. “It was installed around five months ago and we’ve quite literally not asked for a single IT support call-out since,” enthuses Ian, referring to the paid external providers to which the charity contract. This is an ongoing saving? “Around three to five hundred pounds a month.”

Describing the CTX ordering process as “absolutely straightforward”, Ian is extremely positive about the scheme, specifically citing the quality of information on the website that allowed the charity to plan the upgrade work well in advance. He also points out that there hasn’t just been a cost saving. “We’re using better software than we were before. It lets us add value to our work.”

Before signing off, Ian is keen to mention one knock-on effect of the upgrade – the increase in reliability of the computers made available to the young client group at their centre. “It’s really well used,” he comments. “Before, two out of three machines would be struggling. Now, it’s totally reliable. This is only a little thing in comparison. But it’s highly valued.”

 
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