Choices is one of Qlic longest standing clients. Their existing infrastructure is server based and the server was coming to end of life and needed replacing. The organisation also needed to implement best practice for GDPR.
Choices had recently fallen on hard times due a drop-in government funding and several difficult internal changes and therefore available funding for any upgrades to their infrastructure was minimal.
Qlic, being familiar with the charity and the way they work, recommended that Choices apply for the National Lottery Awards for All funding. The Big Lottery Fund offers grants between £300 and £10,000 to support charities and not-for-profit who deliver services that matter to people and communities.
The funding can cover:
- one-off events
- small capital projects
- staff costs
- training costs
- utilities/running costs
- volunteer expenses.
National Lottery Awards for All has three funding priorities. The funding must also meet at least one of these priorities:
- bringing people together and building strong relationships in and across communities
- improving the places and spaces that matter to communities
- enabling more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage.
Using our knowledge of both the charity and the funding programme Qlic met with Choices to discuss what solution was best for their organisation. The recommendation involved changing how they worked and moving them across to SharePoint. This recommendation not only had significant advantages over their current server-based solution in terms of remote working, it was also a significant step towards meeting the GDPR guidelines.
Qlic also advised that Choices should get Cyber Essentials Certified, a Government backed cyber security initiative, which provides five security controls that, according to the UK government, could prevent around “85% of cyber-attacks”. Part of this would involve installing a Sophos UTM (Unified Threat Management) which would offer all in one protection for their network, wireless, email and devices.
Having provided Choices with all the recommendations and details they needed, they went away and put their funding proposal together. Their proposal included:
- the name of their project
- when the project will start (which needed to be at least 12 weeks from when they submitted their application)
- where their project will take place
- all the costs involved in their project
- whether their project targets a specific group of people and, if so, who.
Qlic provided support throughout the process and reviewed and edited the final bid in March.
The funding bid was successful and was approved in June. Qlic are now ready to implement the full solution for Choices with all works completed by early September.
We were duly awarded the full £10,000.00 and the improvements we’ve been able to make have greatly extended the mobility and reach of our service, and the integrity and efficiency of our systems.