Disability Challengers

“Just because we’re a charity doesn’t mean that we should run a second-rate infrastructure. We need to operate efficiently and professionally — but we’d have had to find a huge amount to pay market rates for this sort of software. CTX provides it at envy-making prices.”

— Jonathan Dobson, full-time employee

Play Schemes for Disabled Children and Their Families

Disability Challengers is a highly successful regional charity. Providing play and leisure/youth schemes at centres in Guildford and Farnham and through community-based programmes further afield, the charity has become central to the lives of hundreds of disabled people across the county of Surrey. 

“We work with around 1,200 children each year — that’s around 120,000 child-hours of commitment,” reports Jonathan Dobson, one of the charity’s 20 full-time employees. “We have people with a whole range of disabilities, including a high number with very complex impairments. We also have a few schemes that are totally open for both disabled and non-disabled children.” 

Clearly, this is a complex operation. “We’re a multi-site organization: a mix of home-workers and staff based in different offices using traditional PCs. That’s why good IT is so very important. As well as the computers and phone network, we now run four Microsoft servers,” says Jonathan. 

Donations through CTX, a donation program of TechSoup Global Network partner Technology Trust, have provided much of this infrastructure. “The SQL server was needed to run our new accounts software — very boring!” laughs Jonathan. “And then there is our bookings database, and a database for staff — at the time, these were the biggest things that we’d done, IT-wise.” 

Of course, one of the CTX scheme’s key benefits is that it provides charities with access to unglamorous yet necessary equipment — items for which many organizations find it difficult to raise funds.