Age UK is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to helping people in later life with companionship, advice and support when they need it most. The organisation offers information and advice to families, health and care to those who need it, and runs campaigns to improve awareness, funding, and infrastructure for the UK’s ageing population.
Yet, as a charitable organisation, COVID-19 hit Age UK hard. While the organisation was beginning to transform its operations digitally, the pandemic accelerated those requirements as many organisations shifted to remote working overnight.
Vince Gratrick, IT Director of Digital and Technology at Age UK, noted, “COVID-19 impacted almost every part of life and continues to do so, often in some quite unexpected ways.”
“With the move to home working I knew I needed to get the most out of cloud apps like Office 365 and endpoint management solutions like Microsoft Intune. However, we came up against a lack of skills within our IT team to set up and manage those apps – not through lack of will or capability, but that it simply hadn’t been at the top of our priorities. We needed some help.”
It was serendipitous, then, that Vince received a call from Telstra Purple, checking in on how he was coping with the pandemic and to extend an offer of assistance. At the very beginning of COVID-19, Adrian Spink, Telstra Purple’s Head of EMEA, made an open offer to help not-for-profit schools, charities and health organisations with remote connectivity, cloud, collaboration, and security for free.
Age UK was one of the organisations to take Telstra Purple up on his offer.
As Vince Gratrick noted, “Following our initial conversation, we established a scope of work with Telstra Purple to set up and configure our IT infrastructure on top of our existing InTune foundation to make the most of its features for users and security”.
The Telstra Purple team also provided support and guidance to advise Age UK’s IT team on the process and delivery of the transformation to ensure a sustainable, long-term transformation. “The Team at Telstra Purple worked with us to share knowledge during the development, rather than just doing the work and then going,” said Mr Gratrick.
“This journey started in May and has almost reached its conclusion now, as we look to roll out some final features across Age UK,” he said.
The project to optimise Age UK’s remote working infrastructure has been an enormous success, enabling the team to continue its critical work even during a pandemic.
Yet, more than that, Age UK has been impressed with the partnership with Telstra Purple.
As Vince Gratrick noted, “Telstra Purple’s approach has been calm, patient, friendly and informative. We never felt rushed, nor that it was a token gesture even though this was pro bono work. It was a model of how a relationship driving toward shared goals should work together.
“COVID-19 has shown us the worst of times. But it has also shown good things can come from it too. From an initial kind gesture to the genuine support from the Telstra Purple team, we are incredibly thankful from the whole team at Age UK!”