Case Studies

Acorn Recovery Projects (Calico Group)

Acorn Recovery Projects is a leading drug and alcohol abstinence charity and part of The Calico Group. The charity operates in 11 locations across the North West that was experiencing rapid growth and needed a cost-effective, secure and reliable IT system.

  • Fixed Priced Service
  • Datacentre Hosted
  • Sage 50, Office 2007, Server 2008
  • Thin Client Strategy
  • Managed Print Service
  • 24x7 Monitoring
  • Helpdesk
  • Hayley Boff, Performance Manager at Acorn explained ‘we recognised that the charities distributed IT system had been outgrown and we acknowledged the need for a centralised solution’, adding that ‘security, data back-up and structure were critical to the project’s success.’

    “Probado was recommended to Acorn by another charity in our region since they had an excellent understanding of multi-site organisations working with vulnerable people.”


    Understanding Charities

    Gordon Maclean, one of the directors at Probado explained ‘We understand the sector’s needs and the donor programs which are available to charities from leading vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco. We recognise the continual pressure to reduce costs, increase Service User satisfaction and payment by results by commissioning bodies’.

    Economical Data Solutions

    Probado’s approach was to have Acorn use the donor programs where appropriate and we then provisioned the service from Probado’s secure, highly resilient datacentre facilities. Further capital investment by Acorn was avoided at the desktop using Thin Client Terminals which they provided as part of their managed service. This was considered to be a more secure, cost-effective, less noisy and considerably less bulky solution when compared to traditional desktop computers. Finally, to keep costs down, Probado used Acorn’s existing equipment and networks where possible.

    Supporting Acorn

    All on-site visits and telephone support are covered in our monthly charge so budgeting is easy, no expensive call-out fees, keeping managers and provisioning staff client facing.

    Clean Implementation

    Probado worked with Acorn’s Senior Management Team so that it was clear the IT changeover project was being led from within the organisation. This helped cascade project updates and system familiarisation through the management teams to staff and key stakeholders. The implementation delivered on time and to budget.

    As Hayley commented on the Probado account team, ‘Martin, Gordon and Jonathan have provided excellent support – they respond quickly if we need them, we feel really reassured that we’re working with providers who treat us personally and are looking after us as an organisation.’

    “Martin, Gordon and Jonathan have provided excellent support – they respond quickly if we need them. . .”


    Hayley joined Acorn after the implementation of the new IT system from a much larger social care business. ‘I was really impressed with the IT system, it was one of the things that worried me when I started but it compares easily with much more expensive and sophisticated systems. Maintaining data securely off-site means that we can always access it. Our staff share information more effectively and as a result we’re running a more efficient and cost-effective organisation.’

    Hayley Boff and Gordon Maclean were interviewed by Mark Crowe of Mark Crowe Consulting

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