Visualising that blank space.

Small World
Who are they?
Small World.
Where are they?

What do they do?
Use creative arts to engage with young people.

How big are they?
Equivalent of three part-time staff.

What did they receive?
Microsoft Windows, Office and Server software – and Visio Professional 2007.

The outcome?
Immense savings, including on professionally-designed plans for the building.

Starting a charity from scratch will always require leaps into the unknown, even for the most broadly-experienced of people. For Sam Atkins, one of the biggest challenges came in the form of bricks and mortar. “I’d never taken on a building before!” she recalls.

Back in 1999, Sam moved back to her home town of Keighley in West Yorkshire, and determined to do something for the community. “I volunteered to work with drug users; I was going into community centres and schools. The first grant I had was £350.” Fast-forward to 2004 and things had grown a little – having demonstrated a local need, and proved the worth of her approach, Sam received a grant to set up a centre in town for her own fledgling charity – Small World.

“We work with adult groups and people with special needs as well as young people,” she says. “But we particularly work with young people who are not getting on in schools. We use the arts – not ‘fine art’, but creative, participatory art to engage people, especially those from the urban, disadvantaged community.”

Software donated via CTX equipped the centre’s small IT network, with Sam opting for tried-and-tested Microsoft Windows running Office. She is in no doubt that this is a route that would have been unavailable to her otherwise. “I was looking yesterday at the Windows 7 operating system – we could bulk-order it from CTX for around £80. That’s an absolutely massive saving,” she says.

But it was a slightly less well-known package that has made all the difference to Small World.

“We got a copy of Microsoft Visio – and it was one of the best things we’ve done,” Sam says. “It’s been used to submit planning applications, for building work quotes, for refurbishments and electrical installations.”

“In terms of the cost saving, being able to purchase this software through CTX was fantastic. But also what it’s saved us is the cost of getting professionally drawn plans - which I wouldn’t even like to hazard a guess at!” she says.

“The latest development is that the plans of the building which we produced on Visio have been used by a game design student volunteer who is creating a 3D model to form the basis of a new website, and also to be developed into a game,” she adds.

Working in the creative sector, Sam is extremely firm about the need to respect copyright and to avoid what she terms ‘dodgy software.’ “Which is why CTX has been amazing – the scheme has allowed us the sort of software that we simply wouldn’t have had access to,” she says.




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