Taking project management online.

Plymouth & Distrct MIND logoWho are they?
PLYMOUTH & DISTRICT MIND ASSOCIATION.

Where are they?
Plymouth.

What do they do?
Provide opportunities, facilities and services for those who have experience of mental health problems.

How big are they?
41 staff.

What did they receive?
GRANTfinder and Huddle packages

The outcome?
Project management within the charity is being transformed.

The Plymouth and District Mind Association – an autonomous organisation affiliated to the national MIND charity – has been serving people in that region since 1984. Aiming to promote social inclusion for all, and to empower people no matter what their mental health situation, the organisation’s most visible project in the community is the Oasis – a large day centre where staff support those either in crisis or experiencing problems with day-to-day living, in addition to providing social activities and mental health information to service users and carers.

Graham Nicholls is the charity’s Financial Controller, and the person who first contacted the CTX scheme for a donation. As a reasonably large and successful regional charity, Plymouth & District Mind has a decent IT infrastructure and software base. But there was a particular area where the organisation was looking for help.

Plymouth MIND image

“What we were severely lacking was a management system,” explains Graham. “We’re currently developing pan-European projects, working with countries such as Romania, Poland and Greece. This is what attracted us to Huddle.”

Huddle – the online collaboration, management and document sharing platform – is a relatively new donor to the CTX scheme – but one that looks set to make a big difference to UK charities.

“We’ve had it for a couple of months,” Graham says, “and it’s already heavily used. We have many, many documents to pass around, particularly in this project – information to share and to edit. When you send emails back and forth you get multiple versions of files, whereas with Huddle we have a full audit trail.”

The European collaboration aims to explore the issues surrounding community vocational mental health training in Europe. But the software is also proving very useful in-house, by being coupled with GRANTfinder – the UK’s leading grants and funding search database – available at a heavy discount via CTX.

“I’ve run an initial search on GRANTfinder for the areas that would be appropriate for us,” says Graham. “This has given me thirty pages of results already. But instead of going through this myself and organising with the different managers what they should look at, I’ve been able to upload the whole thing onto Huddle. Now the managers can look at it themselves, and be semi-autonomous in looking for funding – it’s enabled us to work far smarter than before.”

“As an organisation, we can store all our policies and accounts on Huddle. When we make a funding application, it often requires information that we’ve used before – we can now get immediate access to this without having to locate old filing. Other big advantages are the secure access and offsite backups.”

The CTX scheme is often used to enable UK charities to perform back-office functions faster and easier, by providing up-to-date software that otherwise they couldn’t afford. But with Huddle, the potential is there to transform the very way that they operate.

“I’m so thankful that I could get it through CTX,” Graham says.


 

 
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