How the cloud is helping our young people in Taranaki

Big Brothers Big Sisters do fantastic work in Taranaki, pairing over 100 young people in our region with adult mentors who provide support and long-term consistent relationships. Proformac Technologies have long supported this important work and, more recently, App HQ has assisted in streamlining their administrative processes through tailored, cloud-based technology.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Taranaki have a small team of staff who coordinate all the pairings of mentors to mentees, which involves things like training and supporting mentors and onboarding new mentors and young people. The admin of all this can quickly mount up and provides a great opportunity for technology to introduce new efficiencies.

“We needed to bring client information and our data system into the modern age,” explains Senior Constable Paul Lampe, Programme Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Taranaki. “We needed a bespoke cloud-based system to allow our staff to access data no matter where they might be.”

“We have been working with Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years and, in the past, they used an Excel spreadsheet and often resorted to hard copy solutions,” says Simon Singh of App HQ (and also of Proformac Technologies and Learner Me). “So, the idea was to make it web-based but also private and secure. It had to store notes and documentation, produce customisable reports, and ultimately reduce the data entry so case workers could be freed up to work with clients.”

“We sat down with App HQ and unpacked what system we had and what our needs were,” says Paul, “Each Big Brothers Big Sisters coordinator looks after a number of active matches of volunteers and the young child they are matched with. It's important for staff to have online access to the database for contact phone numbers and addresses as well as entering information and feedback from each person involved in the match.”

The project started in late 2019, which turned out to be perfect timing as it was up and running before lockdown hit in 2020, when we were all forced to work online. “With the Covid-19 lockdown last year, where staff had to work from home, it really showed the ease of having the database available. Everything staff needed was online and meant they could work from home in an efficient way,” says Paul.

Other branches of Big Brothers Big Sisters around New Zealand have got wind of the technology and are also adopting it. “They have all feedback to us on developments we can make so we’re now working on version 2.0,” explains Simon.

“For a small charity like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the relationship with App HQ is making a difference not just locally but soon around the whole country,” says Paul. “Huge thanks to the App HQ for taking the time to listen to us and create something that will have a great ripple effect around the country.”

Simon expresses his appreciation for the work Big Brothers Big Sisters are doing in our community: “We can see the difference they’re making in these kids’ lives and its very satisfying to see we can contribute in some way.”