Who are they?
Where are they?
Cambridge and London.
What do they do?
Use the arts to help people at risk of social exclusion.
How big are they?
A very new, growing charity.
What did they receive?
Microsoft Office Professional Plus and Office for Mac.
A new charity established, doing excellent, effective work in the community.
Set up in Cambridge only last year, Squeaky Gate’s success has already prompted the establishment of a second base in South East London. “We’re a music education charity specialising in mental health,” says Jane Rich, Company Manager. “We run workshops and courses, and put on performances in the community. We’re officially two years old – but we’re following on from work that was going on beforehand by our Chief Executive.”
The company uses music, drama and the arts to help people who are at risk of social exclusion, and is proud to produce not only strong and original work but demonstrably effective outcomes for its users. “We like to empower people,” says Jane. “For some we provide a real alternative to college; for others we can be a real lifeline.”
Starting with next to nothing (“me, a desk and a computer!”) Squeaky Gate’s expansion was rapid – and soon the organisation hit familiar hurdles. “We quickly got into an IT pickle – we had old computers donated, with old operating systems, and it became a mess,” recalls Jane.
Needless to say, the existence of CTX came as welcome news. “When I discovered the donation scheme it was: ‘wow – this is fantastic!’” says Jane, who proceeded to upgrade the charity’s software to make it fit for purpose. “We have over 200 students and 30 courses, so there is lots of administration – we use Word and an awful lot of spreadsheets on Excel. We have registers and coursework; we use Publisher to produce course materials.”
With the Professional version of MS Office accessible to the charity, Jane and her colleagues were able to develop Access databases to support their work. They now use Office 365 to ease the difficulties of working across two locations.
“CTX has provided a massive cost saving,” says Jane. “It allowed us to set the company up. And as a new charity, it was particularly good to be able to acquire the number of licenses we needed to enable us to expand.”
For a young charity like Squeaky Gate, CTX can be a major facilitator in addition to a source of solutions for existing needs. Clearly fired by its initial success, Squeaky Gate does have plans to grow further and will be looking for more support from the scheme’s donors in due course. “We’ll be stepping up to more robust systems, and that means servers, both software and hardware,” says Jane. “It’s fantastic to know that this will be feasible for us – as we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.”