Investment in digital technology pays off for grant-making organisation

Aug 25, 2020

A LEADING charity has continued to fund vital projects which support vulnerable, isolated and disadvantaged people during lockdown thanks to its decision to invest in cutting-edge digital technology. 

Milton Keynes Community Foundation has provided more than £500,000 of support to voluntary, community and cultural sector groups across the city since March through its Covid-19 Milton Keynes Emergency Response Appeal Fund. 

It is reaping the benefit of full fibre digital technology, which allowed the organisation to store its data in the cloud, making it easy for MKCF staff to access files while working remotely and for the foundation to share files with its independent panel members.

At the start of the pandemic, the panel was meeting twice a week to process the demand for funds. 

The charity relies on people and organisations hiring space at Acorn House, its city centre base, to fund its work in the community. Poor connectivity put that at risk, resulting in decreased productivity, reduced ability for staff to work from home and rising tenant unhappiness.  

Ian Revell, chief executive of
Milton Keynes Community Foundation

Last year the partnered with CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, and KEE Services. MKCF chief executive Ian Revell said: “Improving our connectivity was the best decision we could possibly have made as an organisation. Having an ultrafast, reliable connection allowed us to shift everything into the cloud, making us far more mobile. 

“There was a lot of uncertainty in March when we all had to start working from home. We were worried it could impact our ability to fund projects across the city. However, staff found it easy to access everything they needed and we have been able to keep momentum going and continue to support some fantastic causes.” 

CityFibre is delivering the roll out of  city-wide full fibre network in Milton Keynes as part of its £4billion Gigabit City Investment Programme. It is investing £40 million to ensure almost every home, business and public service in Milton Keynes has access to high capacity, gigabit capable connectivity that will future proof the city’s digital capabilities. 

Work on the network has been ongoing since early 2018 and is almost complete.  

Jean Gowin, CityFibre’s city manager for Milton Keynes, said: “Access to gigabit-speed connectivity has the power to truly transform the lives of people across Milton Keynes, bringing massive benefits to communities while helping to grow a more resilient and dynamic local economy.

Jean Gowin, city manager in Milton Keynes for CityFibre.

“MKCF does brilliant work in our city and it is great news that our full fibre network has made it easy for them to continue that work during lockdown, while ensuring remote working is also feasible. 

“The network we are building is having a transformative impact on MKCF and it is the same across the rest of the city, with households and businesses able to reap the benefits of full fibre connectivity. This infrastructure will continue to power the city for decades to come.” 

To donate to the Covid-19 MK Emergency Recovery Fund, visit www.mkcommunityfoundation.co.uk 

To find out more about CityFibre’s Gigabit City roll-out, visit: www.cityfibre.com/gigabit-cities/ 

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