CARAS is a community outreach charity based in Tooting. The charity supports people of refugee and asylum-seeking background who live in South-West London. They have a range of group activities that support people of all ages to develop their English skills, access services and opportunities, build supportive social networks and to feel welcomed. CARAS work with individuals to make sure that people get the specific support that matches their situation no matter how complex.

CARAS applied for a Tech Surgery with the following brief: “We have some issues with hardware and software – nothing too major, but needs some tuning up and identifying the main needs and work to be done.”

During discussions with CARAS, the following specific issues were identified:-

  • Internet access was often slow and problematic
  • E-mail was reported as being very slow especially when loading and accessing individual mailboxes
  • Printing via the various printers often caused problems
  • A requirement to check the versions of key software in use to see if they are current
  • Views welcomed for future potential third-party support
  • Suggestions welcomed for potential introduction of appropriate parental controls on all devices, given that these were also used regularly by students

What difference did CITA’s support make?

“We met CITA volunteer, John, over half year ago. We asked for support in identifying the main gaps in our IT support. John provided an extremely detailed report and gave us suggestions on improving the service. Further, based on John’s recommendations, we reached out to a charity IT organisation who used the report to put together a budget for IT support for our charity needs. This helped us to apply for funding, which we have received and now can have appropriate IT support. CITA helped us to understand our IT needs better and to put together a funding proposal to have safe, secure and smooth IT systems in the charity, which is very difficult if you are a small budget organisation.”