OPENCAST Software has confirmed its commitment to making a positive social impact by making generous donations to five local charities.

The Newcastle-based tech consultancy has donated almost £50,000 to charities whose work in local communities has been much needed during the Covid pandemic.

The charities include a domestic abuse refuge; a food bank; a support centre for those in need, including the homeless; an LGBTQ support service and a hygiene bank, and were chosen by a team of charity champions at Opencast. The workload for each of the charities has significantly increased since the pandemic began.

Tom Lawson, chief executive at Opencast, explains: “Our mission as a company is to make life better through good team work. ‘Good’ points to our standards of quality, but it is also about ‘purpose’. Our purpose here is to make a real difference to hardworking charities operating in difficult circumstances.

“We sincerely hope our donations improve the lives of those who’ve turned to our charities for help, and we’d like to thank the Community Foundation who’ve awarded the donations through our new Opencast Charitable Fund.”

Charities who have benefitted from Opencast’s generosity are:

  • The Hygiene Bank in Newcastle

The bank was established in 2018 with the aim of helping people in financial need by providing toiletries and other essential hygiene products.

  • The KC Foundation for the Byker Connect25 Food Bank

This is a small charity, connected to the larger Kings Castle Charity, which provides food for people in need in the Byker area, near to Opencast’s Hoults Yard offices.

  • Albert Kennedy Trust (akt)

The Trust provides support, advice and guidance to young people aged 16-25 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and who are homeless or have a housing need.

  • St Vincent de Paul Society for the St Vincent’s Support Centre, Newcastle

The centre supports the homeless, those in poverty, those with disabilities, the elderly and young people and black and ethnic minorities.

  • Wearside Women in Need (WWiN)

Incidents of domestic abuse have increased since the pandemic began so WWIN has never been busier. The charity operates two refuges and an outreach programme that provides a range of community-based services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse

Tom Lawson adds: “We had a strong year of growth in 2020 and the company has a responsibility to help those around us who are struggling. We’re headquartered here in the north east and we felt it was important to help regional charities working to improve the lot of local communities and people.

“One factor that differentiates us is the work we do. Our work for several key clients involves making life better for all of us, using technology to make real changes to people’s lives. Our charitable donations are an extension of this – improving people’s lives and making things better.”

Edgar Penollar, chief executive at The Hygiene Bank, says: “We are truly grateful to Opencast Software for their donation to The Hygiene Bank. These funds are vital in helping to raise awareness of the issue and to tackle hygiene poverty.”

Rebecca Stevenson, centre co-ordinator at St Vincent’s Support Centre, adds: “We were delighted to receive a grant from the Opencast Charitable Fund at the Community Foundation. It has enabled us to continue our essential support work in providing free meals, emergency clothing, and emergency food parcels to struggling individuals and families in the north east. So far this year that has been over 1,400 people supported by St Vincent’s.”

Becky Rogerson, director at WWiN, says: “A huge thank you to Opencast Software for acknowledging and supporting survivors of domestic abuse in Sunderland. The pandemic has created the ‘perfect storm’ for domestic abuse to escalate and as a service we’re humbled by the response from the community which has enabled us to go the extra mile; supporting more women and children to safety, and helping them re-establish a life free from abuse.

“The grant provided vital practical help such as removal costs, setting up a new home, and transport to a refuge in a crisis. Our thanks from the many women and children who needed a helping hand; an investment in their futures.”

Opencast specialises in building and running enterprise IT systems for the government, key public bodies and global financial services. Clients include JP Morgan Chase and Co, Sage, NHS Business Services Authority, HMRC, DWP and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

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