Calman Trust

"[Thanks to the donation] we've set up six computers. If you're living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation and yours is the only handwritten CV on the pile, yours will stand out. No fancy DTP is needed. It just needs to be nicely presented, and it will put the applicant on a level playing field with the others."

— Andrew Nixseaman, operations manager

Software Donations Help Level the Playing Field for Scottish Youth

The Calman Trust, based in the Scottish highland towns of Inverness and Alness, offers advice, education, information, practical support, advocacy, and opportunities to young people who encounter problems after leaving home. They can turn to the Trust for one-on-one support with their housing needs, to get advice about leaving home, and to improve their literacy skills. They are also able to join various training activities to prepare them for work. The Trust's goal is not to make young people dependent upon it, but to give them a foundation to make the best of their lives. 

With a huge geographical area to cover, the Trust is increasingly looking to IT to help it reach the 200-odd people who might be using its services in a year. Its Information Exchange project incorporates a magazine and detailed website and is produced by the young members. In addition the trust is working on an enterprise project that will give young people an experience of being in a workplace, but in a safe environment where they will be supported if things don't go according to plan. They will learn about systems and software and are encouraged to use the facilities for their own needs, such as searching for housing and putting together applications for jobs.

The Calman Trust received a donation of Microsoft Office Professional Plus from Charity Technology Exchange, the IT donation program of Charity Technology Trust, a TechSoup Global Network partner. These products helped to equip the Trust's computers with business-standard software for use as a training tool. The donation also supports the organization's work helping youth find a home, get a job, and develop skills.