time-to-upgradeWe’ve recently been able to secure two grants which have enabled us to upgrade our IT infrastructure – including purchasing 10 new PCs for our training department, upgrading our router, and ensuring the whole of our Stroud site is covered for wi-fi. We’ve also installed a separate ‘Guest’ wi-fi network so that young people and their families using The Door can access the internet securely.

A big thank-you to MBS Systems and Networks who have supplied all the new kit and generously installed it all free of charge!

Upgrading systems like this is a regular necessity, as technology improves and the needs of users changes over time. For instance, when we moved locations three years ago, we planned for a suite of 4 PCs in our Drop-In Centre, based on the predicted increase in users and the historic popularity of the 2 PCs in our previous home. The reality now is, because the vast majority of young people use smart phones and tablets, the rush to ‘check their facebook’ in the Drop-In has ceased. Most are online constantly and are able to keep up to date with what’s going on wherever they are. As it stands, we only have 2 PCs in the Drop-In, and these aren’t often in use. With the installation of the wi-fi network it is likely that this usage will decrease further.

It isn’t just our IT systems which need to be monitored and upgraded, either. We are constantly striving to improve the services we offer – whether that be in the quality of our paid and volunteer staff, the resources we use, or the actual services we offer. We pride ourselves on having always been a ‘Needs Led Organisation’, and that means that we must regularly assess the needs of those we work with (and those we don’t) to ensure we’re fit for purpose. I wrote back in March about the re-orientation of our services in order to focus on more early, preventative intervention, and we are now beginning to see the fruit of those changes across the organisation.

We also continue to seek ways that we can help meet the needs of communities outside of Stroud Town, with a vision to help others ‘upgrade’ their services for young people and their families. Since September we’ve been working in Dursley alongside other youth work providers and the Tabernacle church. This has included detached youthwork on the streets and providing an open access session in the new Vibe youth centre.

But its not just our services which we need to keep fit for purpose. As individuals its vital that we keep ourselves in the best shape – I’m encouraging each department to look at how best to grow and develop their teams through ongoing professional development, training, and making sure they look after themselves emotionally and spiritually too.

Time To Upgrade?