Youth homelessness charity St Basils has won Microsoft’s DesignIT 2008 competition, which aims to recognise the creativity of the UK’s IT professional community.
The innovative idea submitted on their behalf by IT professional James Elliott will now be implemented to the value of £15,000.
After short listing by a panel of experts the public voted for their favourite design, which will now become reality.
James Elliott is a keen supporter of St Basils work and was aware that one of the biggest difficulties faced by young homeless people is keeping their whole life in a rucksack. It is important for them to keep personal information required to access housing, employment, health and other services safe from theft or loss.
James wanted to create a ‘Virtual Rucksack’, providing a centralised, web-based resource to help them get back on their feet. For the young homeless person, the system will act as a central store for their key personal records and documents as well as links to other support services such as careers, housing and health.
For St Basils, the system will provide a digital record of the individual case histories for support at the point of delivery and between visits. Eventually other organisations will be able to link into the system to provide additional support services.
Microsoft’s DesignIT competition, now in its third year, aims to help UK charities by inviting IT professionals to come up with ways to solve their IT challenges through innovative and creative ideas.
Bruce Lynn, Head of the Server Business Group, Microsoft Ltd said: “James’ design is a great example of the ingenuity which is consistently demonstrated by IT professionals across the UK”.