IT firm secures funding to roll out virtual citizen’s advice hubs across Hampshire

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AN IT firm has secured funding to roll out crucial virtual services across Hampshire.

Allteks has secured £250,000 funding to roll out more virtual hubs across Hampshire to allow more people to access LCAs, formerly known as Citizen’s Advice Services.

The firm installed its first hub at Southampton City Library as a pilot scheme, but due to its success, services across Hampshire will be installed over the coming months.

The hubs are single-person rooms, built inside the building from which the service currently runs physically, which allows people to use a computer that has an easy-to-use video conferencing platform, Vectera, installed, allowing them talk to a member of the service who is working from home.

Allteks was engaged to provide Citizen’s Advice with technology to allow people who were struggling with IT issues or who did not have access to technology at home to use the service virtually.

It was initially set up during lockdown to allow people to use the service in a Covid-safe way but has since proved that its benefits go beyond the virus.

Don said: ‘Not only will this help reduce contact and help keep Covid numbers low, but it brings so many more benefits with it. The topic of lowering emissions is very big at the moment, so with more working from home this will help the LCAs on their journey to net zero, which will be another huge benefit.’

The money will be used to pay for the installation of the hubs providing them with a holistic digital service including managed IT, print and back office needs, allowing the services to pay it back over several months.

Don said: ‘This will hopefully be very helpful in easing the financial load for the services. It’s important that LCAs have financial support as it is such an important service to have installed that shouldn’t be held off until they need funding. It’s important to us to make this as accessible as possible.

‘It’s great to see the scheme coming to life and hearing the stories about how real people have been helped as a result. It’s rewarding for us and beneficial for them, so hopefully long will it continue.’

The funding has come out of a partnership between Allteks and office solutions firm, DEOS.

The two companies work together to provide businesses fully serviced IT support and managed printing services.

Senior head of business development at DEOS, Peter Robertson said: ‘After supporting a number of local LCA’s over the past 15 years it is good to see this facility come to life as the services that all Citizens Advice offices deliver is so important to the community even more so during Covid.

‘We are proud to have forged this partnership with Don and his staff as we are seeing real results and smiling faces which have been missing in recent years.’

Annabella Crawford, chief executive officer at Citizen’s Advice Eastleigh said: ‘The deos Group and Allteks have been hugely generous with their time and expertise, helping our service deliver critical services to our community and providing extra support to our hardworking volunteers.’

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