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Back in 2008, Friends for Leisure was a small charity working in and around Macclesfield. We had a team of three paid staff based in a room at the side of a community centre. Most of our office equipment was second or third hand and we relied very heavily on friends of the charity to help us with our day-to-day operations.
Our first encounter with Prism IT Solutions was a telephone call from Gary Smith, who had heard about Friends for Leisure from his mother. Gary was looking for a local charity to work with; not necessarily by offering financial support, but by offering skills and expertise.
Over the following weeks, we met with Gary several times and it soon became clear that the collaboration had the potential to benefit both organisations. Gary was keen to use his professional expertise to help Friends for Leisure be a professional charity.
Early in 2009, Prism IT Solutions began providing a free 24-hour remote IT support service. This has continued and its value to Friends for Leisure cannot be underestimated. Knowing that Prism is only a phone call away gives the charity assurance that any IT issues will be resolved quickly and with minimum disruption to our service. Furthermore, Prism’s team of professional, yet friendly staff immediately take the stress out of the situation. In simple terms, this means that by Prism doing what they do best, the charity’s staff can concentrate on what they do best – providing much needed opportunities to disabled children and young people.
When we moved office and relocated to Congleton in the summer of 2009, Prism technicians were on hand to help with the IT logistics and our service was up and running in a very short space of time.
Friends for Leisure’s relationship with Prism has gone from strength to strength. Gary has become something of a “critical friend” of the charity. In addition to the service provided by Prism, Gary has supported our membership of the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce & Enterprise and we have been their charity of the year in 2012 and 2014, in recognition of our engagement with the local business community. This, in turn, has opened doors to other business connections.
The value of corporate social responsibility is often measured in financial terms, but, at Friends for Leisure we believe that “it’s not just about the money”. Our relationship with Prism has evolved and grown over time. At its cornerstone has been a clear focus on what is important – making a difference to the lives of disabled children and young people. The partnership thrives on mutual respect and the genuine desire to make a positive impact.