Who are they?
Gower Bird Hospital.
Where are they?
Pennard, on the Gower Peninsula.
What do they do?
Care for sick, injured and orphaned birds and animals with the sole intention of returning them to the wild.
How big are they?
One full-time and one part-time employee.
What did they receive?
Year one: MS Small Business Server, copies of MS Office. Year two: MapPoint, Office Professional Plus 2007 upgrades, Windows Vista 32-Bit Upgrades.
Charity equipped with modern networked IT and software.
The Gower Bird Hospital cares for all species of wild birds and small mammals.
Its sole purpose is to treat them and return them to the wild. Unlike a zoo, where animals are on display, the aviaries are camouflaged to provide the birds with the security and privacy needed to aid their recovery; the Hospital is not open for visitors as this can cause distress. With no admissions income, the charity relies solely on donations – a food bill alone of more than £5000 per year ensures that budgets are tight.
Simon Allen co-founded the charity in 1984. “A lot of people support us precisely because we don’t open to the public,” he explains. “Our only concern is the welfare of the animals. We’re very grateful to every supporter – we need to raise £40-50,000 per year, and of course there are a finite number of people willing to donate to a small animal charity.”
The Hospital was one of the first recipients of Microsoft software from the CTX programme, and has recently returned for a second round of donations. “The offer from CTX is phenomenal,” enthuses Simon. “You can often get discounts elsewhere, but nothing like this.” For a tiny charity looking to channel all funds into frontline work, the opportunity to equip a modern IT network on a shoestring has been invaluable. “We had a single PC before... but started off with an electric typewriter and card index files,” smiles Simon.
Now, a volunteer is able to sit in comfy surroundings and administer an extensive networked database of patients and treatments. Simon explains the process. “Each animal is given a record. Species, history, medication, etc. We can then use Excel to keep things up to date and to produce statistics. [Many of these are available on the charity’s website]. It’s been a great use to get the volume licenses.”
Practical applications for technology crop up all the time, and Simon is enthusiastic about the possibilities of another Microsoft product. “We’ve started to use MapPoint to develop a map of gull recoveries,” he explains. “When we release a gull back into the wild, we fit a small plastic ring so that it can be identified. Birdwatchers can then report back, via the website, and we can see how the birds have progressed. We’ve identified birds as far away as Africa.”
As a charity that clearly could not have diverted anything but a tiny sum towards improving IT facilities, the Bird Hospital’s experience has demonstrated the value of the CTX scheme. It is heartening to hear their story, and to see them continuing with the programme for a second year. “It’s fantastic,” concludes Simon.
Windows Server 2012 is a server operating system that enables a computer to handle network roles such as print server, domain controller, web server, and file server.
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