A pragmatic approach to the drug culture.

Crew Logo
Who are they?
CREW 2000.

Where are they?
HQ in Edinburgh.

What do they do?
A public health charity with a very pragmatic approach to drugs and sexual health.

How big are they?
16 staff, up to 50 volunteers at one time. Turnover approx £500,000.

What did they receive?
Various Microsoft server software and upgrades; upgrades to Windows 7; MS Office software.

The outcome?
An organisation keeping pace with rapidly-changing demands upon it.
 
Crew 2000 is extremely open about its work in the field of drug use. It points out the dangers, giving people the best fact-based information possible. But it also accepts that human beings will make their own choices, that significant numbers of people from all backgrounds will decide to try drugs, and that the task of reducing the harm done will be made far more difficult by adopting a judgmental perspective.

“We were set up as a result of all the misinformation, all the public outcries driven by ignorance,” said John Arthur, Director of the charity. “So this was a time when some people were using downers to come off ecstasy – and this was their lifestyle. And how could we have practically helped if we’d have condemned their entire lifestyle? Being up-front is really important. We work with government, health and local authorities, the police… and we can say the things that they sometimes can’t.”
 
 
 
It’s been a successful approach; so much so that the charity now operates across Scotland from its Edinburgh base, and plays a key role in projects further afield in the UK and Europe. This rapid expansion has necessitated a growth in the organisation’s IT facilities – which led to its approach to CTX.
 
“We have lots of hotdesking here; we have remote access from home and iPhones,” explains John. “We needed server software – and server software that was up to the job.” This prompted an orginal Microsoft/CTX donation of Windows Server 2003, recently upgraded to the 2008 edition, alongside Small Business Server.
 
 
 
The charity chose MS Office alongside this. “It’s by far the most widely-used package – the industry standard. Most staff are volunteers and are comfortable with Microsoft,” says John. “We did think of Linux, but we’d be starting from scratch.” This familiarity to a valued volunteer base was an important factor for the charity. “People who are counselling on the front line, or whose main job is outreach work are not necessarily the most IT literate,” John comments.

John has a wider point to make about the drugs ‘scenes.’ “Things are moving so rapidly. New drugs used to appear every few years. Now it’s every few months. They are marketed so well, and so much of that is online – we have to try to keep up, and we couldn’t do that without decent software,” he says. “Interfacing with social media is increasingly important to us, and we have to share information with colleagues all over the world.”

“Had it not been for CTX, there was no way we could have upgraded our software in this way,” John concludes. “It would have been far too expensive – we did look at alternatives, but no. So I’m more than satisfied with CTX. It does a great job for organisations that use ICT as much as we do.”
 
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