‘Healing Hurt Minds’ – specialist children’s charity receives CTX donation

Childhood FirstWho are they?

Where are they?
Communities take children from across the UK.

What do they do?
Run residential communities for children who suffer from the effects of neglect, deprivation or abuse; provide family and placement support services.

How big are they?
A turnover of £5m, with 150 employees.

What did they receive?
MS Exchange Server license with 50 client access licences, 50 copies of MS Office Professional, SQL Server Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with 50 User Licences.

The outcome?
A specialist residential school is being networked, and its IT facilities upgraded considerably.


Childhood First’s strapline is ‘Healing Hurt Minds’. Working with young people who have been seriously affected by experiences of deprivation, trauma, loss or abuse, the charity aims to help children make sense of their past, give them a different experience of ‘parenting’ in the present, and allow them to look forward to the future.

The launch of the CTX scheme came at an ideal time for the charity. “We currently have a strategy to expand our IT capacity,” notes Mark O’Kelly, Finance and Administration Director. “We don’t need word-class IT facilities – but we need something that’s right for us and supports our work. We found out about CTX through our external IT consultants.” The result was a Microsoft donation of server and Office software that will go towards the goal of improving facilities and communication throughout the organisation.

“Our IT was very fragmented,” explains Mark. “There was little consistency between our centres; each might have a couple of computers.”

This fragmentation impacts on the specialist care that the charity is able to offer regionally to children from across the UK. At the Thornby Hall centre in Northamptonshire, Childhood First runs a fully-fledged secondary school for its 24 children, offering the full national curriculum and inspected regularly by Ofsted.

Notwithstanding the fact that staff currently have to copy work onto floppy disc in order to transfer it between parts of the building, “Ofsted expect us to have certain IT facilities,” explains Mark. “And they inspect us just as they inspect any ‘normal’ Secondary school. We can now tell them about the improvements that we’re being able to make. The children need computers for their course work, amongst other things.”



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