About Social Life Opportunities (SoLO)
Social Life Opportunities is a charity that provides services for adults and children with learning disabilities, to empower them to achieve their full potential. They do their best to provide any support an individual may need, to flourish and thrive. This has led their range of services to grow and grow.
In any given year, they support over 1,000 people with learning disabilities. They have two activity centres of their own and three supported living houses. They currently run daytime activities, primarily for young people and adults, at three Solihull locations, two in Chelmsley Wood (where the executive team is also based) and the Fire Station. They also have three supported living properties, where they have staff to support our tenants to live independently.
SoLO employ approximately 200 people, the training that is provided gives them confidence to support their members effectively in a safe and experienced environment.
Local IT Support
SoLO first heard about ACUTEC in early 2018, when they attended a discussion about data protection – with GDPR soon to be implemented. Discussions soon turned to IT in general. Their contract was due for renewal with their previous supplier, and they invited ACUTEC to tender for their IT support.
SoLO knew they wanted to have an IT provider close to their premises, should they need on-site support. And with ACUTEC’s head office only a few miles away, and their experience working with charities across the Midlands, they were an ideal fit.
Lesley Beer, Acting CEO, commented “ACUTEC reviewed our systems, saw the way we use them and made personalised recommendations from there. They didn’t just offer a one size fits all IT solution.”
Reliable IT Systems
Like many charities in the UK, IT is at the heart of everything SoLO does. From day-to-day administration to financial systems, they need IT they can rely on.
“ACUTEC put us first. They truly know how we operate as a charity and make suggestions about what we need”.
Before engaging with ACUTEC, SoLO were using a lot of old IT equipment, with out of date and unsupported operating systems, such as Windows 7 and even Windows Vista. Like many charities, much of their IT equipment was donated, with much dating to the mid-2000s.
“Thanks to the suggestions from ACUTEC, we’ve invested over the last few years to really enhance our technology.”
Remote Working Solutions
Since working with ACUTEC, the improvements SoLO has made to their IT systems have made it easy for them to work remotely. ACUTEC recommended that they use Microsoft 365, so staff can access their emails from anywhere.
“Under our previous systems our staff couldn’t work remotely. Moving to Microsoft 365 and introducing VoIP phones lets us work from anywhere.”
ACUTEC also recommended that SoLO switch to a VoIP phone system, so staff don’t have to be sitting at their desks to take calls.
“ACUTEC helped our strategic thinking with remote working solutions.”
With remote working solutions in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SoLO had very little disruption when staff started working from home more regularly. Lesley commented “ACUTEC helped our strategic thinking with their suggestions for remote working solutions.”
Confidence in ACUTEC
SoLO know that ACUTEC are there for them whenever they need IT support. No matter the problem, big or small, SoLO have full confidence in ACUTEC. “The engineers really get to know our systems which means we can rely on all the engineers to fix any issues.”
“Without ACUTEC’s advice and guidance we would have struggled to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Replacing desktop PCs with laptops has given Social Life Opportunities’ staff greater freedom and made sure they have the right technology to get their jobs done.
“We have a fantastic relationship with ACUTEC, and we always feel welcome when we contact them.”