Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS), first established in 1968, promotes voluntary action within Southampton by supporting local organisations and groups, to tackle issues of poverty, social exclusion, and health. They offer support in the form of governance and management, volunteer recruitment, and funding advice as well as bringing together networks of similar organisations to promote collaboration on specific issues.


SVS approached Cranfield Trust in early 2020 for some independent advice on implementing a new IT setup that would help them to make better use of their resources, increase effectiveness and efficiency throughout the organisation and manage risk appropriately. They had several key requirements for the support they needed and specifically came to Cranfield Trust looking for a report with recommendations, based on their needs.  

In addition to the issue of their IT systems, SVS was also in need of a digital strategy to help plan for the future, drive work efficiency whilst reducing cost and show leadership in its sector development role. Cranfield Trust was more than happy to support SVS in this additional follow-on project which was completed in April 2023.


Following initial discussions with Regional Manager Marie Langan to fully understand the charity and its needs, SVS was introduced to volunteer consultant James O’Hara who had the professional knowledge and expertise to support them in tackling their specific challenges. James, an engineer with a background in IT development and programme management, then met with the charity to gain an understanding of their current IT systems, review how these work for them and discover what they require from any new systems or processes.

As a result of these actions, SVS was able to implement changes including the migration of all users to Windows 10 Professional on new laptops as well as setting up shared cloud storage.  Work completed includes retiring the out-of-date office-based server (including shared drive) by extending the use of Microsoft 365 and rehousing the Accounts package on alternative hardware.  James helped SVS to challenge their IT support vendor and to ensure that the vendor offered a more robust solution that better met SVS’ needs and budget.


When SVS contacted Cranfield Trust, they were facing several dilemmas with their existing IT setup.  However, after time spent with their volunteer consultant James, SVS were able to upgrade their systems based on his recommendations resulting in all staff having significantly more efficient, secure, and overall effective technology to allow them to carry out their role and support their beneficiaries.

Carrying out the review, upgrading their IT hardware, and helping SVS to identify the next digital priorities have made SVS’ technical systems better suited to meet the needs of their beneficiaries as they are more efficient and more secure.

The IT upgrade and review facilitated by Cranfield Trust has strengthened the organisation’s digital infrastructure, resulting in better use of data throughout the organisation with effective analysis and reporting functions. It has also driven efficiency within internal organisational areas and enabled SVS to increase its expertise in digital strategy development which benefits its members and beneficiaries in Southampton for years to come.  

Rob Kurn, Chief Executive of Southampton Voluntary Services commented on their experience with Cranfield Trust, saying:

 “Cranfield helped us to navigate some really tricky technical digital issues, which led to us saving money, increasing productivity, and being more data secure.”

Registered Charity No: 800072 | Scottish Charity No: SCO40299 | Company No: 2290789 | Telephone No: 01794 830338
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