April 28, 2020 @ 9:53 by Steven Hugill
An IT firm helped a voluntary organisation adapt to the coronavirus crisis and launch a support programme in a matter of hours.
Bondgate IT worked with Catalyst to ensure it continued its work with charities across Stockton-on-Tees.
Catalyst called in the Darlington-based company days before the lockdown after closing its office and moving its 12-strong team to home working.
Bondgate IT was contacted at 10am and by 2pm had installed a new email system that could be accessed by Catalyst’s entire team – allowing its COVID Community Support Team remote project to go ahead.
The team ensures those classed as being at risk or vulnerable, and who are unable to leave their homes, receive help with shopping, collecting and delivering prescriptions and walking or caring for pets among other support.
Working in partnership with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, and the area’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, Catalyst has now received more than 1000 emails asking the COVID Community Support Team for assistance, with the initiative having helped more than 2000 vulnerable and elderly residents.
In addition, Bondgate IT provided a second independent email system when Catalyst launched its Keeping People Connected support service.
Funded by the Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, it provides a telephone support service for those with learning disabilities or autism who risk becoming more vulnerable during the coronavirus emergency.
Guru Naidoo, Catalyst chair, said: “We took the decision to close our office and needed immediate assistance to ensure our staff were able to continue serving the community from home via telephone and email.
“Bondgate IT responded and within hours we were in a position to launch the COVID Community Support Team, which delivers both practical and moral support to thousands of people who are particularly vulnerable at this time.”
Garry Brown, managing director of Bondgate IT [pictured], added: “Many businesses and organisations have been forced to quickly adapt and react to successfully support their clients in these challenging times and Catalyst have been a shining example of this.
“I am proud our team were able to support Catalyst and the valuable work it does.”