Who are they?
BRIDGE TRUST THAMES VALLEY
Where are they?
What do they do?
Provide a facility for young people in Maidenhead.
How big are they?
8 paid staff (3 staff FTE).
What did they receive?
Various Microsoft products including Office, Publisher, FrontPage and Digital Image Suite; Symantec Norton Internet Security.
Budget diverted into software directly for the end users.
The Bridge Trust provides the young people of Maidenhead with a social space that they can call their own.
During the day, it runs sessions for young and teenage parents with pre-school children. In the evening, the venue is transformed into a thriving youth club with an average of 40 people attending each session – occasionally many more.
Maidenhead is an affluent area – a town with a ‘nice’ reputation. But this perception brings its own problems. “There are huge pockets of social deprivation here, yet getting funding is very hard for a town like Maidenhead,” says Hilary Bone who, as Service Manager for the charity, sees its day-to-day good work first hand. “And there are additional problems. We are only 20 minutes from London, and drug pushers travel out here to target the wealthier pupils at the comprehensive school. They are being sold heroin in their lunch break.”
The Bridge Trust used CTX to supply its core administrative software, following a move to larger premises.
“We’d had people donate old computers – but it got to the point where they all started to crash,” Hilary recalls. “So we put together a bid for funding. But a youth worker here had heard about CTX, and so we were able to obtain it from there.”
“The CTX software arrived very quickly – actually before our computers arrived!” she says. “It was so quick and simple – and a pleasure to do business with them.”
“We now have an Access database that captures all the information we need about our users – who they are and when they come. This is all information that I need to feed back to our donors – previously I was having to manually sift back through attendance registers for this,” she says.
“We use Microsoft Publisher for our quarterly newsletter – and of course we produce all sorts of posters, leaflets and flyers.”
Relieved of the need to buy software to support the charity’s administration, Hilary and her team put the amount saved directly back into facilities for the end users. “We bought writing tablets for the kids, and software specifically for them,” she says. “There’s one package that allows them to create and produce their own comics. We try to give them things that they wouldn’t necessarily get in school.”
The popularity of the club has delighted its staff and supporters, who have seen its users progress from being teenagers looking for role models, to young adults - ready to take on challenges and responsibilities.
“We have eighteen year-olds who want to remain involved, and they now come in as helpers,” says Hilary. “We involve them in the running of the clubs, and let them carry out tasks such as risk assessments.”
“When they are young, we see their enthusiasm, and glimpses of their skills and passion. We aim to capture that, to give them responsibility and to teach them life skills.”