A friendly face at a difficult time.

Who are they?

Where are they?

What do they do?
Work with young people who are affected by separation, divorce, death etc.

How big are they?
Fewer than 5 staff, plus volunteers.

What did they receive?
Microsoft Encarta, Project, Virtual PC for Mac, Windows XP Professional, Office Professional 2003, Office for Mac

This Way Up aims to ‘help young people turn their lives the right way up.’ Specifically, they help those who are being affected by loss.

Pete English, at the charity, explains. “We mean loss in its widest sense – it could be separation, divorce or bereavement,” he says. “We help children who aren’t coping – maybe there is other stuff going on elsewhere in their lives.”

The successful befriending and mentoring programme centres on young people from eight to eighteen in and around the Solihull area. But the charity’s influence extends far wider. “From here we also support people nationwide and overseas who use our materials and methods in a kind of franchise model,” says Pete, who when we speak is preparing to travel to South Africa to visit the charity’s partners over there.

Behind the scenes, IT plays a core role in the charity’s achievements. “We do a lot of funding applications, budgeting and presentations for supporters, and the training aspect is quite large,” says Pete. “If we didn’t have access to the Microsoft software, we’d have to manage with the freebie programs. But aside from our own office work, we’re a youth charity, and we want the kids that we work with to be learning on the latest software used in business.”

Pete cites in particular two programs that the charity received as donations via CTX. “We had an old version previously, but the latest version of PowerPoint does more things. For our sort of charity it is quite crucial to communicate effectively, and we use tools such as embedded video within our presentations.”

“We also use Microsoft Project, mainly for bigger undertakings such as a street art project that we did with the council – it helped us to plan ahead well. Project is also very useful for funders – you can easily demonstrate that your charity is organised and has proper timelines in place.”


Pete is hoping to secure an upgrade of Project via CTX, and is considering the collaborative software available. Is all this something that his charity could pay retail price for? No. “We do have an IT budget… but it’s very, very small,” Pete laughs, explaining that a few hundred pounds a year has to buy and maintain everything, before getting to the nub of the issue that is faced by so many small charities.

“But the point is, if we get a donation in, we’d rather spend it on resources for the children in our groups rather than software for our office,” he says.





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