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Homeless Charity wins Microsoft UK DesignIT 2008 with Virtual Rucksack

Howard Lake | 6 July 2008 | News

St Basils, a charity which works to prevent youth homelessness, has won the Microsoft UK DesignIT 2008 competition, which aims to recognise the creativity of the UK’s IT Professional community.
St Basils will now see the innovative idea submitted on their behalf by IT professional James Elliott implemented to the value of £15,000.
The charity’s idea was selected by public bote after being shortlisted by a panel of IT professionals.
James Elliott 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. The initiative is designed to highlight and celebrate the creative and positive contributions made by IT professionals outside of their usual work parameters to help a charity.