Equipping the after-school homework group

Who are they?
Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish Community Association.

Where are they?
Laurencetown, NI.

What do they do?
Provide services for the outlying rural community.

How big are they?
1 full-time, 3 part-time staff members; lots of volunteers!

What did they receive?
6x MS Office Professional Plus, 5x MS Encarta Premium 2007; Symantec Norton Internet Security with 5 user licenses.

The outcome?
An after-school homework group has been set up with new hardware and software. 

When the Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullyish Community Association received the go-ahead to purchase five laptops for a new youth programme, there was an immediate problem to face.

“We had a single old copy of Microsoft Office,” explains Robert Stockley. “And even with the charity discounts that you can find, the cost of software was very expensive.”

Robert is the sole full-time member of staff at the Association, whose catchment area covers a predominantly rural area of Northern Ireland. The local geography is one of the reasons for the charity’s existence. “One of the biggest issues is social isolation,” explains Robert. “People don’t have the same access to services as they would in a town – let alone in the city.”

To help address this, the Association runs a variety of practical activities and groups from its base in Laurencetown. “Youth groups and older people’s groups, for example,” says Robert. “And all sorts of classes.” Given that much of his job involves raising money to keep this good work going, Robert is good-humoured about the extent of his annual budget – a mere £76,000. “We get by!” he says, emphasising that the charity receives “a lot of support” from the area.

Nevertheless, when the CTX programme - providing software donations from Microsoft and Symantec - was discovered, this made an immediate difference to one project: the five laptops could be utilised to their full extent. “We’ve set up an after-school youth group for secondary school kids,” explains Robert. “We provide Internet access for those who don’t have it at home and can’t get to a library; they come here to do their homework.”

Immediately, Robert points out the pivotal nature of the Norton suite obtained from CTX – the software that underpins the whole undertaking. “Without that level of security it would put the whole thing in jeopardy,” he insists. “We couldn’t afford to be in that situation.”

Running on the laptops is Microsoft Encarta – the world-renowned educational reference library featuring articles, photos and illustrations, sound and video and an interactive atlas. The Association has also installed MS Office, allowing the children to learn and use industry standard software such as Word.

Would this have happened without CTX? “On a much smaller scale,” explains Robert. “They might have had to come in to use our office computer to type a letter, for instance.”

“It must have saved us six to seven hundred pounds on Office alone,” he concludes.



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