The backbone of local volunteering.

Chester VA Logo
Who are they?
CHESTER VOLUNTARY ACTION.

Where are they?
Chester.

What do they do?
Provide a backbone of support to local voluntary, community and faith-based organisations.

How big are they?
7 staff.

What did they receive?
Microsoft Server software & Office Professional Plus; Symantec Norton Internet Security, Protection Suite & Backup Exec.

The outcome?
Despite low funds, the IT systems are now properly networked and secure.
 
Chester Voluntary Action is a typical example of a charity feeling the squeeze in the current financial climate. It’s a vital cog in the infrastructure of local community organisations, but being one step removed from the holy grail of ‘the frontline’ makes it extremely vulnerable to budget cuts.  

“Nobody likes funding ‘back office’ functions!” says Liz Neeves, Admin Officer at CVA, whose own post is now being paid for through the charity’s reserves.

It’s an irony that Chester Voluntary Action’s mission is to improve those frontline services by providing the means by which voluntary and faith-based groups can get going in the community.

“If people want to set up, a support group, for instance, they’d come to us and we’d give them advice on funding, finding trustees, establishing a constitution – all the things like that,” explains Liz. “We also work with existing groups; we have volunteer networks and forums, and co-ordinate the local Mental Health Alliance and Inter Faith Forum.  CVA has a Volunteer Centre they will guide prospective volunteers towards places that will suit their skills and interests. The Volunteer Centre also supports Volunteer Managers including providing training in volunteer management.  Essentially, we’re an umbrella organisation for local community voluntary and faith-based groups.”
 
 

 
CTX has supported Chester Voluntary Action with donations of Microsoft and Symantec products.

“We’ve just finished a 3-year lottery funding programme which has increased the sustainability of the organisation,” Liz says. “Through that, we’ve been able to network all our PC’s. The CTX donations of server software allowed us to stretch this money, as labour is not at all cheap – we’d have had to have cut back on our work, otherwise.”

“The new network has enabled us to be far more flexible internally – for instance we have a placement student here today, and he’s able to use another person’s computer but work on my files.”

The computers are underpinned by Symantec’s market leading security utilities. “Our PC’s were all bought at separate times, and the software on them was haphazard – bits of free virus software and the like. We were advised to take the Symantec products by our IT company,” Liz says.

“CTX were very good to deal with – they were very helpful when we were placing the order,” she continues. “I’d recommend them.”

 
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