Empowering Third Sector Organisations

Case Studies

Helping to provide dignity and comfort for the homeless

Manna House helps to serve the homeless of Stoke-on-Trent.  When they have nowhere to go, no food to eat and no clean clothes, Manna House is the light in their darkest hour. 

Many people fall on hard times and throughout the UK there are an estimated 320,000 homeless and
the number is rising. 
No one expects to be homeless yet statistics report that many families are only two pay packets away from losing their homes. Homeless charity Crisis recently reported that due to a wide range of factors the ‘typical’ image of a homeless person is changing, click here to find out more.

How would you cope?                                                                         

Manna House helps homeless people, whom they call ‘guests’ by providing hot meals, food bags, clothing, bathing facilities and medical treatment.  Guests trust the volunteers at Manna House and are helped through these tough times by having a safe space to go where they are treated like people, rather than a nuisance.  At Manna House they are looked after, knowing they will get a hot meal, a wash, clean clothes and some food for future days.

Manna House is there to support the homeless in Stoke-on-Trent and supports around 100 guests per week.  Describing their work, one guest said:

 “Manna House is a place where I can go without judgement.  They see me as a person and give me the help I need to get me through the week.”

Ann Nicklin who is a Trustee at Manna House said that “More recently, Manna House also started to run an art group to give guests another place to go to talk, create and spend time off the streets.”

Forward thinking

Another area Manna House helps is by getting other services involved to help their guests.  Manna House now runs a service hub where the Department for Work and Pensions, The Housing Association, nursing, drugs clinics and other services are available in the trusted environment to try and engage guests with services who can help them moving forward.

All guests are welcome at Manna House and can drop-in for practical advice and support or just a chat.  As with any charity, Manna House is funded through the kind support of local people and companies. 

Thoughtful gift

They are always pleased to receive donations, but a recent gift from PETT just blew them away.

From their Winter Wonderland fundraising event, PETT donated rucksacks which Ann Nicklin, who is a Trustee at Manna House, says were incredible.

“We’ve received donations before but the amount of thought that went into the rucksacks provided by PETT was amazing. They had obviously researched very thoroughly what would be useful and what was needed.  They really had thought of everything, from the wind up torch and radio so that the guests don’t have to find funds for batteries, through to wet wipes and socks.  We know that wet feet are a real issue for guests and can lead to foot sores, so it was lovely that they included warm, dry socks.”

PETT made a donation of 40 rucksacks which equates to £2,000.

Talking about PETT’s support, Ann said “With the support of organisations such as PETT we can help so many homeless people in Stoke-on-Trent.  Being able to hand out these rucksacks to those in need means that we know they have some essentials to make their week a little easier.”

If you would like to support Manna House please visit http://www.mannahouse-hanley.co.uk/


PETT donation helps Space4Autism to deliver much needed emotional support to anyone with autism aged 0-100.

Discovering that your child, or later as an adult, that you are on the autistic spectrum can be a frightening time.  This was the case for Space4Autism’s CEO, Cheryl, who found herself in this position, with a young autistic child, long waiting lists for help and little support available. 

Much needed support

Cheryl and another parent John McKellar wanted to find other parents in the same situation and searched for support groups, but nothing was available in the area.  Undeterred and having found a handful of parents in a similar situation Cheryl and John started Space4Autism. 

The launch of Space4Autism

Starting off small, the charity used to meet in a pub or rent a room for meetings.  It was in 2011 after starting their first social club for children that the charity really started to grow.  PETT, Prism’s community support project, made an initial donation of two desktop PCs and a laptop in 2015 which empowered the charity to spread the word about their work and use the technology to assist with completing funding grants and communications.

Space4Autism has grown from strength to strength.  In 2017 the charity moved to larger premises where today it has grown from 900 to 2,500 members (in just 18 months) and now has 23 staff and 89 volunteers. 

The charity is a safe place for those with autism and their families and friends to come and just be themselves, without any judgement.  Friends, siblings, parents and carers can come together and get immediate support, which is crucial if it’s been a challenging day.

If a family is struggling Space4Autism is there, every day and immediately.  Everyone is welcome and it’s become the hub of not only the community, but many families travel many miles to access the support offered.

IT helps

Space4Autism wanted to make IT equipment available to their members so that they could complete homework, job applications and forms for support or benefits with their support workers on hand to help with any issues.

PETT were keen to help and provided 10 desktop PCs and a laptop which are available to members in the internet café and other support areas. 

Space4Autism also runs over 2,000 activities per year for members and their families.  From cookery and creative arts through to therapy and social skills, the IT equipment provided helps Space4Autism publicise and manage their events.

Space Pod

But PETT’s support hasn’t stopped there.  One aspect of autism is lack of direct eye contact or conversation. Acknowledging this was a challenge and the charity wanted to create a safe space where members could go for some quiet time without feeling isolated.  The new Space Pod, with the help of PETT, has been constructed and kitted out with the latest technology which allows two-way conversation so that members can talk through any anxiety or problems they have through a big brother diary room style setting.  They can click a button to speak and be spoken back to, but without the 1-2-1 pressure of communicating directly. 

PETT were able to support the new Space Pod project via a donation of £5,700 towards the construction work and IT equipment needed, as well as providing the technical support to set everything up. This donation was possible as a result of PETT’s Winter Wonderland fund raising events and the generous donations of everyone attending.

Talking about PETT’s support, Cheryl said PETT’s support from the outset has enabled us to progress.  I honestly don’t think we would be where we are today without their support which has helped us grow as a charity and provide better services to our members. It’s lovely when the PETT team visit and can see the reality of the support they’ve given.  The smiles on the children's and parents faces say it all.  We cannot thank PETT enough for what they have done for us and for our 2,500 members.”

 Looking ahead

 Space4Autism have recently developed a training package for parents and carers who, after their initial diagnoses, are often left without any immediate support.  Cheryl says, “There is still a long wait for parents to get a diagnosis but they will be able to access support for autism at Space4Autism.  Through our training package, we hope to help the parents and carers across Cheshire get the much needed training they need immediately.”

If you would like to support Space4Autism or find out more, please visit www.space4autism.com

If you would like to find out more about PETT please visit www.pett.uk.com


10 Year Milestone for Friends for Leisure

PETT donation helps children in East Cheshire ‘think ability, not disability’

Friends for Leisure’s (FFL) aim is to help to reduce the social exclusion and relieve the stress of children and young people in the Cheshire East area.  The charity delivers a range of activities from sports or drama sessions through to group based support for young people aged 5 to 21, with an emphasis on ‘think ability, not disability’.  Friends for Leisure’s objectives fit perfectly with the Prism Empowering Through Technology’s (PETT) ethos which is to help third sector organisations in need, both within our local community and beyond.

The PETT scheme has supported FFL for a long while, in fact this year marks the 10th anniversary.  PETT has helped to empower FFL through their period of growth over recent years by donating more than £41k worth of IT equipment and services.  

Much more than just a donation

The support PETT provides is not just financial, it also comprises IT equipment, engineers time, PC hardware and upgrades, as well as the financial element which is raised through a variety of fun events such as Sky Dives, Race nights, Christmas jumper days and cake sales; which all make up the significant donation total.

More recently, seven ‘All in one’ PCs were upgraded, donated and installed by PETT’s  support engineers.  Talking about the project, Gareth Salmon, who led PETT’s technical team said “It was a pleasure to work with Gillian, Barry and all of the team at FFL to help upgrade their IT infrastructure. The organisation does such worthwhile work and I was delighted we could provide them with the equipment, skills and time to improve their daily IT needs.”

Improving productivity 

The outcome for the charity is that all desktops were upgraded, now delivering an infrastructure which is faster and more efficient, with high end business grade IT and security.  For the charity workers their end user productivity and efficiency are better as systems run quicker and are more stable.   The physical working environment has also improved as volunteers have more available space at their desks and larger, clearer screens to work from, giving them more space to think clearly too.

Gillian Jones, the charity’s manager, has said “FFL’s relationship with PRISM has gone from strength to strength over the last 10 years and, in my view, is an example of Corporate Social Responsibility at its very best. By PRISM doing what they do best, the team at FFL can do what they do best – making a real difference to the lives of disabled children and young people. Everyone involved with the charity is grateful to PRISM for their continued support.”

Next steps

Financially, it is a difficult time for small charities and securing funding to sustain and improve will continue to be a challenge for FFL. But the demand for the charity’s service is growing and Gillian and her team are passionate about continuing the professional and much-valued support that they offer to disabled children and their families.

How can PETT help my organisation?

There are 3 potential ways in which PETT could assist your organisation: a hardware donation, technology funding or training.

Please visit www.pett.uk.com for further information.


The Donna Louise - Helping to provide a haven for parents

The Donna Louise is laughter and best friends, it's light in the darkest hour, it's fun and happiness, art and music, it's real understanding - it's so much more than you think.

When you have a child, it should be one of the most exciting times of your life. One can only imagine the heartbreak when, as a parent, you’re told that your child has a life limiting condition.  No one expects to outlive their child. The fear of what lies ahead, coupled with the challenges of caring for a child or young adult with very complex needs is a strain for parents.

How would you cope?

The Donna Louise helps children and parents through these tough times by providing a haven where parents know their child will be looked after.  Whether having lots of fun and bringing families together at the purpose-built facility in Trentham, providing respite in the family home, being there during hospital stays, facilitating support groups in the community, or simply being at the end of the phone, The Donna Louise is there for families across Staffordshire and Cheshire - whenever, wherever, always.  Describing their work, one mum summed it up in a nutshell

“The Donna Louise is a big security blanket, no matter what problems you have, what help and support you need, it’s here.”

The trust helps to bring families together to have fun in a supported environment and are there for extra support when times get tough.

Self-care matters

One of the goals for The Donna Louise is understanding, for the parents, how hard it is to trust somebody else to care for their sick child when they have cared for them every day of their lives.  The Donna Louise works with the parents through regular visits to give them the confidence to take a break, and just focus on themselves for a while.  The nurses at The Donna Louise take away that fear.

Ongoing support

Everyone is welcome at The Donna Louise and parents can pop in for emotional or practical advice and support.

As with any charity, The Donna Louise is funded through the kind gestures of its supporters, the public and corporates.  They were very pleased to receive a £3,000 PETT (Prism Empowering Through Technology) donation which was raised at the Winter Wonderland event.

Talking about PETT, Melanie said “By having the support of organisations such as PETT we are able to support the important work of a children’s nurse for an entire month at The Donna Louise, giving children loving and sensitive care and allowing parents to spend precious time with their ill child safe in the knowledge they are well cared for by someone that knows them and their needs.”

Which for parents means a much needed helping hand, and as one parent said “I don’t know where I would be without The Donna Louise – I’d be lost. I’m so thankful to the generous supporters who help keep The Donna Louise open.”

Following a visit to The Donna Louise, PETT’s Co-ordinator Kath said “The Donna Louise is a fantastic place, full of light, colour and happiness. The support and facilities they offer to families during the happy and no so happy times is exceptional.

If you would like to support The Donna Louise or find out more, please visit www.thedonnalouise.org


If you would like to find out more about PETT and how you can apply for a charitable donation, please visit www.pett.uk.com


An innovative plan

The amount of IT equipment, perfectly good machines, needlessly destined for landfill was unnecessary and a waste both morally and financially.  When four ex college teachers and trainers put their heads together, they came up with an innovative plan which would not only reduce waste to landfill but would also help the community in a big way.

Based in an area of high deprivation, Community Recycling Consortium (CRC) was set up with the aim of training individuals with physical and mental disabilities which are not funded or supported well in society, like anxiety, depression and mental health issues, to help them get back into employment.  CRC, a not for profit community enterprise company, started by requesting old IT equipment from organisations and it took them 5 months or so of ringing around to build up an adequate amount of stock to work on.  Then CRC approached Job Centre Plus and Remploy to see who needed support in the community.  Through these efforts, plus reaching out to other organisations, CRC gradually took on around a dozen people in their first year.  

Bill Harvey, co-founder and Operations Director explains their objectives:  

We are a community interest company with charitable objectives of helping people with physical disabilities and mental health issues in our local community.  When people join CRC, they all start at the same point, taking computers apart so they can learn what the parts are.  Then they progress to working on small laptops and things so that they can identify the faults, install new software, etc., so that they can be sold on.  Most people stay a few months, but many don’t want to move on.”  

A unique way of working

CRC’s way of working is unique, they have thrown political correctness in the bin.  It’s a real working environment where professionalism and expectations are high and a proper day’s work is on the to-do list.  The company also take on apprentices, but are reliant on a regular flow of hardware to keep people in training.

Working together to help others

In 2015, Stoke on Trent based CRC started working with several local organisations, which included local IT provider Prism, to expand their idea by bringing a regular flow of IT equipment into stock.  Prism work with CRC and provide a regular bulk delivery of old or redundant PCs and laptops which Prism collects from their customers who are upgrading.  But what happens to them next? Bill explains:

Now we are working with high volumes of IT equipment, we take them apart and fix any issues. Essentially, we refurbish them which means that CRC now sell hundreds of laptops nationwide, shipping around 30 to 40 laptops per week from our shop and through our eBay site." 

The increased income means that they have moved to some larger premises and can provide greater opportunities for those in the local community.  Bill tells us what the impact has been:

Our new premises mean we can train and support more people in the community and we’ve even got three apprentices who have joined the CRC team.  We are creating real jobs and opportunities for the young and disadvantaged young adults and we now have 10 paid employees and 10 volunteers working with us on a weekly basis.

As a community interest company with charity objectives, CRC are a shining example of how working together with businesses in the community can help others and make such a difference to someone’s life.

“It’s great to have the support of all the local companies who support us, and the donations made by Prism make such a positive impact on people’s lives, it’s incredible.  Employees who previously struggled in a normal working environment and were on heavy medication are now being weaned off, working normal jobs and getting back to a more stable way of life.  It’s heart-warming to see our great team working together, supporting each other – and one of the people we took on in the first year is now one of our Directors.”

For more information about CRC click here to visit their website