We spoke to YMCA Bellshill and Mossend Project and Operations Manager Rachel Nixseaman about the work they do in the community with vulnerable children and families as well as their transition to providing services remotely. GoodCall were able to create a solution for the charity to meet their mobile needs, setting up 9 lines for their team and youth workers to ensure they could continue delivering their vital program of youth work during the pandemic.
YMCA Bellshill and Mossend work to respond effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable children, young people and families in the area. We work to invest in Scotland’s young people and help them realise their full potential. We believe in strengthening families at the heart of the community and work closely with parents and partner organisations to deliver this mission.
I work for the YMCA Bellshill and Mossend, and I am the Project and Operations Manager, so I look after all of our youth work. All our work is centred around supporting vulnerable people to thrive. We run a wide variety of programs; we have a food bank and emergency support for young people that was set up during the pandemic. It’s still something that is definitely needed.
We have a childcare team that delivers after schools’ programmes and holiday programmes. We also have a youth work team that deliver group work, one-to-one and skills programs, alongside early intervention. We hope to have an impact across generations, giving people the tools they need to help them make positive choices and empower them to reach their targets and goals.
Yes, I actually just googled ‘cheap phones for the third sector’ – a bit of a real mash-up of search terms, and GoodCall was one of the first things that came up and I got in touch and got a response the very next morning! I came across GoodCall’s website and it really appealed to me that there was another option specifically for charities like ourselves. It was something I hadn’t seen before and I was interested in an alternative of going straight to the network.
For us, it was really about sourcing suitable devices for our youth workers, because the only options seem to be too high end or useless bricks, so we were looking for a midground. An affordable smartphone, the key things for us were affordability and a good data allowance.
So, as part of our procurement, I looked at a couple of the standard network providers, O2, EE and we’d looked at another company that does our IT. The IT company quote was just insanely high – completely unaffordable for us. and the other companies were all about the same ballpark, but there was going to have to be a lot of admin and time from my perspective as I was going to have to source and buy all the devices as well as the SIM cards. It would have also been the case that they would have all been on separate contracts, so GoodCall had a decent costing but also it was just the real ease of being able to have our account managed for us.
They have been really important in our work, especially through our transition to doing more service delivery virtually. A lot of our staff to lone working out in the community, so they need to be reachable and contactable at all times. We provide the vast majority of our services in person and face-to-face, but due to the pandemic, a lot of that had to be halted. So, we had a lot of our youth workers delivering services through Zoom, Facetime and Whatsapp, and it was great that we could have that connection with our service users without having to give out any personal contact details.
It was really easy to get started with GoodCall, I reached out and was contacted right away. Contact was always really quick and Elaine was quick to get in touch with me and find out more about our requirements. I felt she made the time to thoroughly understand our needs and everything was done very smoothly, there were no gaps in communication. It was a new set-up for us – within the organisation some people had devices, there were a few GiffGaff SIMs. Elaine took the time to discuss our connectivity with us and because of our central location, we were able to go with the most affordable option without having to consider network provision too much.
The Youth Work Team primarily use our phones – I act as an on-call manager. I’ve also got a project coordinator that works directly with families and partners. I’ve got a Volunteer Coordinator who is in charge of recruitment and volunteer support and then I’ve got the youth workers who go out and meet young people one to one.
We understand that we have made good savings, as although this was a new set-up for us we could see this from comparative costs. The budget for our phones came from our core costings, and the comparative savings meant we were certainly able to buy additional Chromebooks and devices for our youth workers.
It definitely helped that GoodCall is a social enterprise because after finding you I didn’t really shop around further – I went to our IT provider first because we had that existing relationship and they already worked with us, but GoodCall gave me an extremely competitive offer when compared with not only the networks, but our IT provider as well. It was great that there was a social enterprise alternative out there and I felt that also fits in with our own ethos.
Yes, GoodCall understood our needs well and working with Elaine and the team was great. Especially helping with things like the data plan and realising that actually, we don’t need a huge amount of data individually – we just needed a pool of it instead. They went out of their way to take the time to investigate what we were using the phones for and offered flexibility within the plan for that.
Definitely. The fantastic analysis has been passed on and the team have made the effort to keep in touch. When we first got started, I had quite a few questions but they were all answered very quickly. I would recommend GoodCall to another third sector organisation – the service was great, the communication was always very speedy and it has been wonderful value for money.