Two years ago, a need for a single database system that could meet Home-Start HOST’s comprehensive data management and reporting needs led them to Lamplight.
Home-Start HOST is a local charity of trained volunteers and dedicated, experienced staff who work across Tameside & Glossop, Oldham, Stockport and Bolton. They promote the welfare of families with at least one child under five years of age so that children are supported to flourish in the early years. They achieve this by providing a wide range of support including home-visiting, parent-infant mental health support and community genetics outreach.
We caught up with Lucy, Administrator at Home-Start HOST, to hear more about how Lamplight has impacted their organisation since its implementation.
The need for a new system
Lucy talked to us about the challenges Home-Start HOST were experiencing before Lamplight and explained their need for a single, remotely accessible database system.
‘We were using a database that was quite rigid in terms of reporting. In addition to that we were also running excel, we fondly called it a database, but it was just two massive excel spreadsheets that we would use for other information that was more useful to us, and the way that we were working.
Family support staff were using paper files, so for every family and every volunteer we had hand-written notes, all the forms were done on paper. They would bring that into admin and would essentially input that data into two separate places. It was quite challenging!
In terms of information sharing, you’d have full information in this paper file but only certain [information] was entered and accessible online or on our system so there was no central place except on paper in the office where staff could look at a full picture of what was going on with a family. So that was obviously limiting in terms of working remotely or different members of staff accessing that information.’
Lamplight made a big difference
After the opportunity to see Lamplight in action at another local Home-Start, Lucy and the team began the process of transition to Lamplight. Lucy worked closely with her Lamplight Implementer and Trainer as they collaborated on the tailored system design and implementation process. We asked Lucy to share how, in the two years since then, Lamplight has changed how Home-Start HOST works for the better.
‘It’s removed the duplication element, so our staff can now enter information themselves. There’s less of a time delay… Instead of them doing it once and us doing it twice, it’s just they do it once and its done so that’s a big difference.
Full notes are accessible to those who need them at any time, things like forms, you don’t have to physically scan that paper form in and send it to somebody – it can be authorised on Lamplight.
In terms of what I’m more involved in, which is the reporting and the monitoring and the data quality, it’s hugely different. Even though I’m not familiar with the nitty gritty detail of individual families, I have such a better overview and it’s so much easier to find information that I need.’
Easier reporting is a highlight
At Lamplight we are committed to reaching more charities who could benefit from Lamplight, and we asked Lucy to sum up the key highlights that she would share with an organisation at the start of their digital transition journey.
‘Obviously, all the reporting is much easier… that goes without saying. But I think it’s given us, as well, access to really quick at a glance numbers.’
‘It’s so flexible, we can ask [our Lamplight system] whatever we want which is a real difference. We’re not just working to the script every quarter and every year, its flexible enough that if it’s a new question then it’s not a problem and that’s a huge deal really… It’s really been brilliant for us.’
If you are a charity who would also benefit from secure data management and clear impact measurement to inform and enhance your service delivery we welcome you to book a free demonstration where we can show you how Lamplight can work for you.