Supporting homeless families in the London borough of Haringey.

Who are they?
CARIS Haringey.

Where are they?
Haringey, North London.

What do they do?

Work with homeless people and families.

How big are they?
Five paid staff, plus volunteers.

What did they receive?
Symantec Protection Suite, Endpoint Protection and AntiVirus Corporate Edition; Microsoft Small Business Server and Office Professional Plus.

The outcome?
Possible to upgrade whole PC infrastructure and databases.
 CARIS Haringey is a registered charity. It works with, and on behalf of, homeless families in Haringey, of which there are 3,500 — twice the number than in most London boroughs and consistently the highest or second highest in the UK. Haringey is the fifth most deprived borough in London and the 18th most deprived in England.

The charity provides a wealth of services as its Senior Advice and Outreach Worker, Indira Kartallozi, explains. “We provide wide-ranging professional advice, e.g. education, housing (dealing with overcrowding and multiply occupancy), welfare benefit claims, immigration and nationality, refugee status and race equality; Family Support working with health visitors, (carrying out home safety checks and provide safety loan equipment).”
“Other more practical services – which often provide the first source of outreach contact and also play a key role in promoting inclusion and building capacity - are for example, the weekly play, education and advice “Drop in,” which creates social interaction between adults as well as between children and helps parents to learn about the importance of play and Foundation stage education learning. The mobile toy and book library is an outreach tool, with clients often being referred for housing and other advice and/or being registered with GP, health visitor and English (ESOL) classes”
All this is achieved by two full-time and three part-time staff, plus enthusiastic volunteers. CARIS Haringey is based in church hall premises, and until recently, was reliant on temperamental creaking old computers for its administrative backbone.

“We had a lot of difficulties,” Indira recalls. “Our client database would crash all the time and we had a serious problem with viruses and spam. We were then very lucky to get a grant to buy new equipment – but we couldn’t afford software upgrades.”

Fortunately, the absence of a formal technical support team had led to Indira attending IT training run by LASA (“they called me an ‘accidental techie,’ she laughs) – and here she picked up knowledge of the CTX programme. Realising that the scheme could provide the required software for free, CARIS could progress with the much-needed IT support and an upgrade.

It’s caused a great deal of optimism within the charity. “We have now on-going IT support from the At-ta-che Solutions, wonderful new upgraded systems, and properly-networked computers that run well,” Indira says. “I have been testing on the upgraded database this morning; it’s fantastic – all the options for reporting give us new ways of monitoring outcomes and keeping client details.”

Indira has already recommended CTX to other small charities. CARIS’s experience shows how a (relatively) small donation of software can offer a big boost to a hard-pressed organisation, in terms of productivity, security and morale. “We would have had to struggle on with all the problems – getting the software for free was really helpful,” says Indira. “Now we have a new website on the way, and things are very positive.”



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