For the community-based charity, connecting flexibly and virtually helps to increase fundraising and awareness.
Cystic fibrosis is one of the largest genetic killers in the UK. Each week five babies are born with it and two people die. A life shortening disease caused by a faulty gene, it affects more than 10,000 people in the UK and there is currently no cure.
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With continued research and support from organisations like Cystic Fibrosis Trust, there are treatments to manage the disease, meaning over half of the UK’s cystic fibrosis population now live past 41, and a baby born today is expected to live even longer. Cystic Fibrosis Trust aims to help cure the condition, but until then, it continues to help people already living with the disease to live a life unlimited. This work can only happen with great links to the community, and that means great communications. Something that you are born with, cystic fibrosis can’t be caught or developed. It’s caused by a faulty gene, which today is carried by more than 2.5 million people in the UK. Affecting salt and water movement in and out of cells, people with cystic fibrosis often have organ problems, in particular the lungs and digestive system. With no cure, the condition can have a huge impact on the lives of sufferers. Cystic Fibrosis Trust funds research into the illness, and alongside partners, helps raise awareness, improve treatment and increase life expectancy for people living with the disease. “The work of the trust is to beat this condition and help people with cystic fibrosis live a life unlimited,” says Lucy Semmens, Director of Strategy and Performance at the Trust. With little funding from the Government, the Trust relies heavily on fundraising and donations. “The majority of our money comes from people in the community,” explains Lucy. “We do have a huge community out there, but we have to be in touch with them, we have to be connected.” Due to the risk of cross infection between people with cystic fibrosis, sufferers also can’t come into contact with each other, meaning stakeholders can often never meet. “Telephony is critical for us, but we had issues with telephone conferencing. We were quite unconnected.” Formerly operating from a 10,500 square foot office in Kent, Cystic Fibrosis Trust wanted to change its location, but more importantly, the way it worked. “Everyone had a fixed desk with a landline; you couldn’t work from anywhere but your desk,” recalls Lucy. “We wanted to bring people together. To create a space where you could have conversations that really made things happen, and work from anywhere as if you were in the office,” says Lucy.
Bringing everything together
As part of the move from a large, traditional building on the outskirts of the city, to a smaller and more central workspace at Aldgate, Cystic Fibrosis Trust did more than reduce desk numbers. Working with Vodafone, the Trust implemented a better way of working, supported by One Net Business. “Vodafone had been a past provider, but we needed to use our partners better,” explains Lucy. “By reducing square footage, we wanted to move to a wireless office, where it feels like you’re in the office no matter where you are, and the Vodafone solution gave us that.” Using One Net Business, Cystic Fibrosis Trust still has a fixed line, but now all of its 100 staff members have mobile phones. This means staff are no longer tied to their desks. They can work from anywhere and still be reached directly, transfer calls and use hunt groups to pick up other calls. “It’s brought everything together,” explains Lucy. “Now we only have ten desks and the rest of the organisation is fully mobile. It’s a lot more fluid.” Cystic Fibrosis Trust also gained access to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business, increasing remote communications. “There’s so many different devices that people can use and every meeting I attend now, somebody is remote,” adds Lucy. “Vodafone made the solution work for us and they made something happen in a short period of time, which is actually having a massive impact.
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