Supporting homeless young people in North Warwickshire

NB DoorwayWho are they?
Nuneaton & Bedworth Doorway.

Where are they?
North Warwickshire

What do they do?
Work with vulnerable young homeless people to address their specific housing problems and needs.

How big are they?
A staff of eight.

What did they receive?
MS Exchange Server 2007 SE, copies of Office Professional Plus 2007, Windows XP Pro 32-bit upgrade; Norton Internet Security 2007.

The outcome?
Modern office IT facilities with properly networked and functioning computers.

www.doorway.org.uk

 

Nuneaton & Bedworth is not generally an affluent area: it is rated ‘four’ in the government’s index of deprivation, and some wards within the Borough are placed within the lowest 10% in the UK. Here, Nuneaton & Bedworth Doorway work directly with those 16-25 year olds who are homeless and vulnerable, addressing their immediate needs as well as helping them to increase their life chances by learning to live independently.

Carol Gallagher is Project Co-ordinator at the charity, which has a staff of eight and an income of less than a quarter of a million pounds. In common with so many small charities, it has been difficult to find money to invest in IT. “Our original computers were set up in 2002/3,” Carol explains. “We couldn’t use memory sticks, couldn’t read DVD’s – and we’d got to the stage where they were starting to freeze or switch themselves off. We spent so much time redoing work.”

A recent grant award enabled the organisation to upgrade their hardware – and then a stroke of luck came their way as a local IT company pointed them towards the CTX programme.

“They were really helpful,” enthuses Carol. “They answered all our questions and clarified the things we needed to know.” The end result was the arrangement of a donation from Microsoft of Exchange Server, up-to-date versions of Office and upgrades to Windows XP, alongside Norton Internet Security from Symantec.

Modern software is clearly essential to running a small office efficiently, and aside from the common tasks of letter-writing, emailing and managing finances, the charity keeps all case notes for its users on the PC network. Internal efficiencies aside however, the programme has made a direct impression on the young people themselves. “Our support workers sometimes take out laptops,” explains Carol, “Or young people might visit our offices. They can now use the PCs here to put together their CV, or to look for jobs on the Internet. We’re very pleased with it.”

 
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