Capacity and Infrastructure

Carers of Barking & Dagenham:

Demonstrating resilience via improved infrastructure, operational systems and procedures

The organisation

Carers of Barking & Dagenham is busy and vibrant charity which provides valuable support structures for over 3,250 informal carers including a large number of young carers. Carers look after family members with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. The charity was founded in 1986 and has grown over the years to encompass 38 staff and over 156 volunteers who undertake a variety of roles.

Why was the grant needed?

1. Resolving IT and infrastructure issues to increase efficiency

The expansion of the charity has enabled them to offer more support to carers in its local community but unfortunately its infrastructure and IT systems were struggling to keep up with this increased demand. This meant that staff and volunteers were not able to support its users as effectively as they should have been able to.

2. Redeveloping the organisations website and staff training to promote more effective use of social media

The charity recognised an urgent need to redevelop its website and social media channels in order to reach out to more users – particularly young carers. The website also needed to become more multicultural to meet the needs of carers who come from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Key achievements following the grant

The grant brought a wealth of benefits to the organisation and has improved both volunteer and carer experience.  The grant has enabled Carers of Barking & Dagenham to achieve the following goals:

  • Achieving PQASSO level one accreditation which allowed the organisation to positively review its working practices and improve both its governance and operations across all aspects of the charity
  • Improving its database to make report writing more efficient and adding information to help improve data analysis
  • The purchase of new computers, servers, screens and headsets and installation of a new broadband system. This has enabled staff to work more effectively and comfortably and has meant that the whole IT system works more efficiently leading to improved service delivery to carers
  • Improvement of the charity website to ensure it is user friendly and links to other relevant organisations. The charity now have engaging Facebook and Twitter pages and all staff have received training on how to use these channels to connect to carers.

Additional benefits from the grant

As well as improving  IT infrastructure and helping volunteers to provide support more efficiently it has also been noted that the grant has given carers and practitioners greater ability to access the information they need quickly and easily.  The funding has left the charity in a stronger position with regards to attracting additional funding for delivery projects and has helped to give them longevity in an uncertain public funding climate.